Balboa Park History 1990
January 1, 1990, San Diego Union, B-1. New Year’s revelers relatively quiet.
January 1, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-1. Free Tuesday divvied up in Balboa Park.
January 2, 1990, San Diego Union, B-1. Balboa Park observes Exposition anniversary.
January 4, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, View Section, E-1. Society: Part, future honored in revelries, dancing in Federal Building; partial re-creation of exposition lighting ceremony at Organ Pavilion at midnight.
January 4, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-8. EDITORIAL: If it’s Tuesday, it must be confusing.
January 7, 1990, San Diego Union, B-39. Photograph of San Diegans streaming across Cabrillo Bridge, January 1, 1915.
January 10, 1990, San Diego Union, B-3. F-4 Phantom II en route to Aerospace Museum.
January 10, 1990, San Diego Union, B-3. Old enemies join Aerospace Museum exhibits.
January 11, 1990, San Diego Union, E-1. A voice for the ARTS: When city arts funding seemed imperiled by other needs, Adrian Stewart got out of his San Diego Repertory Theater managing director’s chair and alerted the San Diego Arts Coalition.
A year later (1989?) the city’s transient-occupancy-tax rate (TOT), derived from a tax on hotel and motel rooms, was raised to 9 percent, ostensibly to fund an arts festival every three years and increase arts funding in the other two years. But competition for the larger pie also increased — among art groups as well as various city departments covetous of the money.
January 19, 1990, San Diego Tribune, D-1. Delza Martin kept Old Globe Theater spinning, by Jamie Remo.
January 22, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-4. Loan boosts plan to build park linking Julian to Del Mar.
January 23, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-6. City is key to more museum “free days,” by Richard Bundy.
January 23, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-7. Balboa Park influences city life, by Richard W. Amero.
January 26, 1990, Letter, Richard W. Amero to Councilman Bob Filner regarding free museum admissions.
January 31, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Calendar Section, F-1. “Come to the Fair” exhibit at San Diego History Center Museum of San Diego History depicts how Fair, Balboa Park altered city, by Catherine M. Spearnak.
February 1, 1990, Reader. Faces at Museum of Man, by Linda Nevin.
February 2, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-4. Exhibit returns eye-opening 1915 Exposition to Balboa Park.
February 4, 1990, San Diego Union, F-1. Exposition started as hype and turned into a gem, by Roger Showley.
February 4, 1990, San Diego Union, F-3. Restoration of Administration Building, by Carol Olten.
(Unpublished commentary on restoration of Administration Building, by Richard W. Amero.)
February 5, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-1. Park museums set new slate of free-day visits.
February 6, 1990, San Diego Union, B-10. New “free” Tuesday policy takes effect.
February 7, 1990, San Diego Union, B-1. Vasco Nunez de Balboa may take rightful place at last in the park that bears his name; John Huennike, sculptor; Elizabeth North, donor, by John Farina.
February 8, 1990, Reader. Dale Ward’s plant tours of Balboa Park, by Jackie McGrath.
February 10, 1990, San Diego Union, C-1. Brides and grooms gather for reunion tomorrow in House of Hospitality.
February 12, 1990, San Diego Union, C-4. Faberge eggs’ impact $15.49 million.
February 15, 1990, San Diego Tribune, D-1. Officials pleased by study of Soviet Art Festival.
February 15, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-11. Don’t let undeserving “buy” Balboa Park memorial, by Richard W. Amero.
February 16, 1990, San Diego Union, B-1. Helen D. Edison, art patron, dies.
February 24, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-3. Artistic offerings in Balboa Park should be varied; answer to Richard W. Amero’s commentary, by Jacqueline San Pedro, artist, Spanish Village.
February 26, 1990, San Diego Tribune, A-1, A-6. Rangers to patrol crime-ridden Balboa Park.
February 28, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-1. Letter, Charitable giving has helped development of Balboa Park, by Kevin Munnelly.
February 28, 1990, San Diego Union, F-1. Museum of Man dusts off exhibit with high face value; busts were hit of 1915 Exposition.
March, 1990. Citizens Coordinate for Century 3. Private donations and public good, how great a conflict?, by Monty Griffin and Richard W. Amero: Balboa Park is San Diego’s Community District No. 1 and the recently adopted Balboa Park Master Plan is its equivalent of a Community Plan. Yet scarcely had this Plan been adopted but the first attempts were being made to thwart its provisions by failing to follow the proper amendment or review process. Notable among such attempts are a series of projects — proposed or completed — to “improve” some section or another of the Park thought by their proponent to be in need of improvement, rehabilitation, beautification, etc.
The rehabilitation of the Sixth Avenue entrance on Laurel Street, renamed Sefton Plaza last year, established that $150,000 is the current price for affixing a donor’s name to Balboa Park real estate. The Committee of 100, well-known for its fund-raising to preserve and restore the Spanish-Colonial architecture of Balboa Park, currently seeks to construct new arcades lining the north side of El Prado. Most recently, a private party has sought to erect a statue of Vasco Nunez de Balboa near the entrance to Spanish Village, subject to renaming Village Place and an accompanying plaza with the donor’s family name. Not surprisingly, the value of the proposed gift is $150,000.
Three important issues arise in these contexts. The first is whether it is either legal or ethical to subvert community plans and the legitimate planning and review processes by ignoring or circumventing them. The second is whether it is desirable or appropriate to effectively sell name-rights within Balboa Park to private donors. The third is whether a specific project, offered as a gift, should be accepted regardless of its quality, functionality, need or appropriateness.
In time of fiscal stress and under threats of major reductions in park improvements, repair and service, the City seems unable to resist the blandishment of gifts, regardless of quality, desirability or motives of donors. Those empowered to consider and approve such gifts should not only meticulously follow the Master Plan (and the Precise Plans to follow) and the proper planning and review process, but also examine carefully the merits of the gift.
With regard to the Village Place project, architect Bertram Goodhue wanted a statue of Balboa in Plaza de Balboa, approximately where the present fountain is located. The statue, like the fountain, would have provided a focus for the east terminus of El Prado. Goodhue knew personally Daniel Chester French, Frederick MacMonnies, Furio Piccirilli, and Lee Lawrie, the outstanding sculptors of his time. If a statue is put up in Balboa Park today, it should meet or surpass the standards of these sculptors and of Anna Hyatt Huntington, whose “El Cid Campeador” graces the Plaza de Panama.
The City’s current fiscal difficulties are no justification for succumbing to mediocrity which will be long regretted. Architectural and artistic excellence must be maintained to preserve and enhance the aesthetic integrity of the cultural core and to protect the Park from exploitation. Offers of gifts, whose rice tags are the perpetuation of the names of donors, should be refused. Despite the promise of TOT moneys to fund Balboa Park improvements, many very worthy projects will lie dormant for years to come. Those who wish to endow Balboa Park should be presented with a prioritized list of urgent park needs, and the City’s Endowment Officer, in cooperation with the Park and Recreation Department, should endeavor to seek solutions fulfilling these needs.
March 1, 1990, San Diego Union, B-2. EDITORIAL: Park Protection . . . . regarding ranger proposal.
March 7, 1990, City Manager’s Report. Committee of 100’s gift to restore arcades accepted.
March 15, 1990, San Diego Tribune, A-1. How Soviet Art Festival was rescued.
March 16, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Metro Section, B-10. Opening set for park’s Japanese Garden; an idea that took root 20 years ago will blossom this summer when the first phase of a $11.4 million Japanese Friendship Garden is completed in Balboa Park, by Franki V Ransom (illus.)
The first phase of the long-awaited Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park will open this summer, the garden’s landscape architect said Thursday.
The 11.5 acre project, which has been contemplated for more than 20 years, is being built in five phases and will cost $11.4 million. The group sponsoring the garden, the Japanese Friendship Garden Society, Inc. of San Diego, has raised $1 million so far to help complete the initial phase.
Speaking at an outdoor ceremony on a spring-like day in the park, landscape architect Ken Nakajima told the gathering the first phase will be completed by July or August. Work began in January at the site on the rim of Gold Gulch Canyon.
Nakajima, who built a similar garden retreat in Moscow, was in town to consult with the joint construction team of Shimizu American Corp. and Nielsen Construction. Founded in 1804, Shimizu is the oldest and largest construction firm in Japan.
The entire garden should be completed in 10 years, said Larry L. Marshall, president of Japanese Friendship Garden Society, Inc. of San Diego. Work will occur as funding becomes available.
Marshall said that “when we negotiated the 50-year lease with the city in 1984, we knew that it was unlikely (we could) . . . raise all the money to build the garden at one time. That’s way we designed the garden in phases.
“The city has pledged to donate $2 million and plans to turn over $500,000 in June, Marshall said.
Included in the first phase are an exhibit room, a gift shop, a snack bar and an administration office. There will also be a sand and stone garden and a picnic area.
“We have a master plan, ant the garden will continue to get better,” he said. “The zoo has been around for more than 50 years, and it is still adding attractions. We will be second only to the zoo in attraction.”
The master plan for the garden was approved by the City Council in 1979. The garden has been named San-Kei-En, which means a garden with three types of scenery. When finished, it will feature a pond surrounded by paths, pastoral and mountain retreat settings, a tea house, cultural center, arbor and exhibit building.
For all the anticipation, this is not the first time a Japanese garden has been built in Balboa Park. A tea garden, complete with a pavilion and a small tea plantation, was built for the 1915 Panama-California Exposition. This is the 75th anniversary of the exposition. The garden was dismantled in the 1950s to make way for the Children’s Zoo.
In the early 1906s the San Diego-Yokohama Sister City Society began to make plans to replace the one torn down.
Gold Gulch Canyon was selected as the new site in 1968, and the Charles C. Dail Memorial Japanese Gate was erected just north of the Organ Pavilion. And until January that was the last construction on the project.
In 1980, the garden committee of the Sister City Society transferred control of the project to the new Japanese Friendship Garden board, which eventually began raising funds for the garden.
At Thursday’s ceremony, the San Diego chapter of Ikebana International, a nonprofit floral organization, donated $10,000 and the Kearny Mesa Rotary Club gave a $5,000 donation collected from five Rotary clubs in Japan.
March 19, 1990, San Diego Union, B-1. Police horse patrol rides high, but it’s mission is questioned.
March 22, 1990, San Diego Monitor. Eyes on crime program a success, by Bob Filner.
March 23, 1990, San Diego Union, B-1. Zoo builds 5-acre African rain forest.
March 27, 1990, San Diego Union, A-1. McDonald’s offer tempts city.
April 1, 1990, San Diego Union, E-1. Steven Brezzo, hero or heavy? Director draws crowds, cash and criticism for Museum of Art.
April 1, 1990, San Diego Union, E-1. “Pandering” at museums blackens bottom line, by Robert L. Pincus.
April 13, 1990, San Diego Union, B-1. Soviet Art Festival pays City $28 million.
April 14, 1990, Los Angeles Times, Home Edition, View Section . . . Balboa Park celebrates diamond jubilee today.
April 21, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-31. Letters, Jay Ray, Phyllis M. Evans: Art Festival left egg on somebody’s face.
April 23, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Metro Section . . . Over 50,000 pack park at Earth Fair, by Tom Gorman.
June, 1990, San Diego Magazine, Vol. 42, No.8, 128-133, 174-176, 178. The Wright Stuff (Frank Lloyd Wright house in parking lot in from of San Diego Museum of Art), by Mark Elliott-Lugo.
June 6, 1990, San Diego Daily Transcript, 1A. Committee of 100 proposes return of Prado arcade.
June 8, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-8. New arcade will take Balboa Park back in memory lane, by John Farina.
June 15, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Calendar Section . . . On its 20th anniversary, Central Cultural de la Raza is preparing to broaden its appeal to the Latino community, critics say it will be at the expense of the center’s founding principles, by H. G. Reza.
June 23, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Metro Section . . . Highway call boxes planted at three locations in Balboa Park for a three-month trial, by Jeanette Avent.
July, 1990, San Diego Magazine, Vol. 42, No. 9, 132-137, 214, 216-217. In the Rain Forest (San Diego Zoological Society expedition to Papua, New Guinea), by Lee Swanson.
July 1, 1990, San Diego Union, B-10. “El Cid” comes clean.
July 2, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Metro Section . . . “Rain Forest” exhibit on display in Natural History Museum.
July 4, 1990, San Diego Union, B-2. Aerospace Museum to get SR-71, famed spy plane.
July 6, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Calendar Section . . . Park’s buffed-up “El Cid” remains lackluster, by Leah Ollman.
July 7, 1990, Los Angeles Times, Orange County Edition, Calendar Section . . . Traveling show of Frank Lloyd Wright at San Diego Museum of Art, by Dirk Sutro.
July 13, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-1. Zoo agrees to tie-in with pet-food maker, by Cathy Clark.
Joan Embery’s trademark voice pitched the names of the pet foods loudly and clearly. The most prominent spokeswoman for the San Diego Zoo and Wild Animal Park was telling people to buy dog and cat food to help the zoo.
Zoo officials deny the corporate tie-in (with Kal Kan) is a foot in the door for no-holds barred commercialism at the institution.
July 13, 1990, San Diego Union, B-6. EDITORIAL: Finish the Job supporting replacement of arcades in Balboa Park.
Date unknown. Balboa Park Master Plan.
July 13, 1990, San Diego Tribune, D-2. Schumann-Heink’s kin to attend Spreckels Organ tribute, by Patricia Dibsie.
July 18, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-6. EDITORIAL: Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Usonian” house plants the right idea.
July 19, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, View Section . . . Nostalgia shows its ugly side on the Prado, by Dirk Sutro.
The new master plan and several more detailed precise plans for areas within the park — including the Prado — will mean nothing if private groups such as the Committee of 100 can impose their will in ways that aren’t in the best interest of the park’s future.
July 19, 1990, Reader, II, 1. Sally Rand: A walk on the dramatic side, by Jackie McGrath.
July 26, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-1. Japanese garden nears first-phase opening, by John Farina (illus.)
The garden’s biggest benefactor to date, with the exception of the city, is the Kyocera Corp., which has donated $500,000. Another $100,000 gift came from Kazuo Inamori, chairman of the corporation..
August 2, 1990, San Diego Daily Transcript, A-1. Art Conservation, respect rendered for originals, by Priscilla Lister.
August 2, 1990, San Diego Union, B-1. Kiwaniis Club told park homeless problem growing.
August 11, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-1. Morley Field’s Dogs’ Club, by Mark Sullivan.
August 11, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-3. EDITORIAL: Keep San Diego Green and Beautiful.
August 17, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Sports Section . . . Velodrome can hide but it can’t run without support, by John Geis.
August 17, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-3. Finest crowd predicted for annual city festival which is organized this year by the San Diego Junior Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by the San Diego Tribune and The San Diego Union . . . Home States Picnic tomorrow at 6th Avenue and Laurel Street in Balboa Park
August 18 – 26, 1990, America’s Finest City Week.
August 19, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Metro Section . . . Letter, Robert H. Stickel — Balboa Park projects.
Let us hope the construction of the second arcade along the sculpture garden will be accomplished promptly. Balboa Park will be a much nicer place when these projects are completed.
August 22, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Metro Section, B-3. Quince Street (Pedestrian) Bridge, 1905 Landmark, Reopens, by John D. Cramer.
August 30, 1990, San Diego Union, B-2. Japanese garden opens in friendship, by Sharon F. Griffin.
The long-awaited Japanese Friendship Garden of San Diego opened yesterday during a special ceremony at which hundreds of well wishers, volunteers, politicians, dignitaries and financial contributors described the natural habitat as “gentle” and “spiritual.”
September, 1990, San Diego Magazine, Vol. 42, No. 11. The Eyes of Time (exhibition of American photo-journalism at Museum of Photographic Arts), by Mark Elliott-Lugo.
September 1, 1990, Los Angeles Times, Orange County Edition, Calendar Section. “Jesus Christ Superstar” at Starlight Bowl retains memorable quality, by Nancy Churnin.
September 1, 1990, Los Angeles Times, Home Edition, Calendar Section, F-1. Stage Review: Old Globe mounts a fast-talking “Hamlet,” by Sylvie Drake . . . Campbell Scott in lead.
September 7, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Calendar Section . . . Tri-cultural festival in Balboa Park; dance performances Sunday will focus on three countries — Mexico, Spain and the Philippines, by Eileen Sondak.
September 16, 1990, San Diego Union, F-1. Portland, Oregon is bonanza for greenery lovers, by Jay S. Cohen.
September 22, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Calendar Section . . . Putting a spotlight on California art gift: a Los Angeles art collector selected the San Diego Museum of Art for his gift of 33 artworks because the museum will devote a gallery to contemporary California art, by Susan Freudenheim.
September 22, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-2. Free admission at zoo on Founder’s Day, October 1.
. . . children will be admitted free to the zoo during the entire month of October to honor Paul and Ione Harter, of Coronado, who have donated more than $5 million to the Zoological Society of San Diego.
September 23, 1990, San Diego Union, B-3. Car curfew considered near Balboa Park.
September 23, 1990, San Diego Union, C-2. EDITORIAL: Fine another way . . . regarding dismissal of more than a third of the scientific staff at Natural History Museum.
September 23, 1990, San Diego Union, F-2. Arcade extensions raises issue of design safety, by Kay Kaiser.
September 27, 1990, B-1. Ground broken for 6,000 square feet Hospice at Naval Hospital; $400,000 gift by Zachary Fisher, article by Gregory Visitica.
October, 1990, San Diego Magazine, Vol. 42, No. 12, 108-111, 215-218. Craig Noel: A Conversation, by Roberta Ridgely.
October 2, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Calendar Section . . . Art often bypassed gem museum: Timken Art Gallery marks 25 years with its goal still intact to collect and exhibit high-quality art, but it remains undiscovered by many San Diegans, by Leah Ollman.
October 11, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, View Section . . . Irving Gill’s Marston House to open soon as museum, by Dirk Sutro.
October 12, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Calendar Section . . . Kidzartz brings hands-on-art to Balboa Park, by Eileen Sondak.
October 18, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, View Section . . . A birthday salute to Craig Noel at 75, by David Nelson.
October 22, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-5. Naval Hospital gets waiver on 600-vehicle, multi-story parking garage.
October 26, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Calendar Section . . . Guerrero still striking the right chord; the leader in Chicano and Mexican music headlines the International Chicano Music Fest ’90 at San Diego’s Balboa Park, by Thomas K. Arnold.
October 29, 1990, Letter, Peter Jensen, Editor, San Diego Home/Garden Magazine, to Larry L. Marshall, President, Japanese Friendship Garden Society of San Diego, Inc. . . . .
I want you to know that you have my complete support in urging all advisory committees and the City Council to keep San Diego’s Japanese Friendship Garden on a high priority statue for TOT funding.
November 7, 1990, San Diego Union, B-4. Voters narrowly opposing park, open space measure, by Steve Schmidt.
San Diego voters were almost evenly split of a $100 million bond measure to fund citywide park and open space improvements.
With almost 90 percent of the precincts counted last night, 50.83 percent of the voters were opposed to Proposition E, and 49.17 percent favored the measure, which required a simple majority to pass.
November 8, 1990, Los Angeles Times, Home Edition, Part A Section, A-29. Proposition E: Open Space and Park Facilities
YES 114,711 (50%)
NO 116,715 (50%)
November 10, 1990, Los Angeles Times (L), F, 16:1. The Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation has given a significant group of 33 paintings and sculptures by several prominent Californians to the San Diego Museum of Art.
November 10, 1990, Los Angeles Times, Home Edition, Calendar Section . . . Commentary: Will Weisman gift work wonders in San Diego? Art: lackluster museum has an enviable opportunity to build on a foundation of important California works, by Christopher Knight.
November 10, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-3. EDITORIAL: Park Bonds
Proposition E, the city of San Diego’s proposed $100 million park and open space bond issue, seems to have been defeated, although conceivably the missing absentee ballots yet to be counted could reverse the apparent result.
If the defeat stands, the City Council should resubmit a trimmed-down bond issue that would provide only for two specific land acquisition projects — along the San Dieguito River valley trail to Julian and in the Tijuana River Valley. These two should be jewels in the city’s environmental crown, along with Balboa Park and Mission Bay. The measure that seems to have been narrowly rejected was jam-packed with spending items of lesser importance. That obscured the essentials and undermined public support.
November 20, 1990, Los Angeles Times, Home Edition, Part 1. Zoo needs $50,000 in air-fare for five gorillas, by Michael Granberry . . . need to charter a jet especially equipped to carry the gorillas; $11.5 million “Gorilla Tropics” scheduled to open at San Diego Zoo on March 23..
November 30, 1990, Los Angeles Times (S), F, 16:4. The San Diego Museum of Art has purchased a small early painting on copper by El Greco and a small religious painting on copper by Juan Sanchez Cotan.
December, 1990, San Diego Magazine, Vol. 43, No. 2. Camera on the Soul (Duane Michal’s photographs at Museum of Photographic Arts), by Mark Elliott-Lugo.
December 11, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Metro Section . . . Council makes tram system in Balboa Park permanent.
December 11, 1990, Los Angeles Times (M), D, 6:1. The San Diego Zoo, on December 10, 1990, unexpectedly handed its estimated $3 million advertising back to Phillips-Ramsey, the same agency that lost it two years ago.
December 12, 1990, Los Angeles Times, Southland Edition, Part A Section . . . San Diego City Manager John Lockwood to retire in March; became City Manager in October 1986, after forced resignation of Sylvester Murray.
December 13, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Metro Section . . . Budget crunch forces Natural History Museum to eliminate eight positions, by Michael Granberry.
December 14, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-10. EDITORIAL: A new jewel in Balboa Park
Landscape gardening is one of those arts on which the Japanese have placed the unmistakable stamp of their ancient culture. A thousand years ago, they had already built many well-designed gardens with artificial hills and ornamental ponds. The characteristic art was to make even the most elaborate scenic composition of rocks, water and plans seem utterly simple and natural. How splendid a success they achieved can be seen in the large gardens that have become public parks in modern Japan.
A thousand years ago, the place now called San Diego was a waterless and almost treeless desert of scrub lands around the bay. Its inhabitants were naked hunter-gatherers, still in the Stone Age. But a great city has risen in the last two centuries from the adobe ruins of a Spanish mission. It has become a center of commerce and high technology. And its half-developed Balboa Park, built in this century on mesas of raw chaparral in the city center, already has become world-famous, attracting visitors from all continents.
Today, the most ambitious project in that park, is to build a classical Japanese public garden. It will be a spectacular tourist attraction, in the heart of a constellation of other attractions, like the museums and the zoo. And it will be a people, sadly interrupted by a war, but greatly strengthened by postwar developments.
How much better we understand each other than we did in 1915, when the original Japanese tea house was built in Balboa Park. Americans were naïve and patronizing in their appreciation of it, as the park historian Richard Amero remarks in his article on the opposite page. And it was neglected during the war and torn down afterward, a tragic loss, symbolizing anger and estrangement.
The new Japanese Friendship Garden will be far finer. It will incorporate elements of the Japanese culture we most admire, when we come to understand it better.
Two of these elements are artisanship and worship of nature — the elements that are combined in a Japanese garden. A candle flickers behind rice paper in an ancient stone lantern. The flame is reflected in the moving surface of water. Cherry blossoms fall like snow. A full moon rises over the trees. The heart is full of wisdom it did not invent and can never fully grasp.
Prose is inadequate to describe this beauty, this mystery, the final effect of centuries of craftsmanship and refinement.
But building a garden must be prosaic. The Japanese Friendship Garden has been planned for 30 years. Construction is now getting started. The first phase was completed this summer and Sankei-en (Three Scenery Garden), named after one in our sister city, Yokohama, is now open for viewing.
It is a handsome beginning, but just a beginning. The project is ambitious. The next phase will cost about $3 million and will be most prosaic — building the infrastructure in a canyon floor, cleaning, grubbing and grading for the artistry to come — the teahouse, the mountain house, the water feature. It may well be the year 2000 before the planned work is complete and Balboa Park has the finest Japanese garden on this side of the Pacific. If momentum is lost, the project could be delayed for decades.
But, with support from the city, from private donors and notably from Japanese companies with nearby plants and offices, the work can move forward in an orderly way as planned. It is essential that the city keep its commitment to provide $2 million already earmarked from a bond issue based on hotel room tax revenues. This will finance the prosaic infrastructure, unglamorous perhaps, but absolutely required to provide a foundation for future private giving to complete this magnificent work of public art. When it is done, no San Diegans will stroll through this friendship garden and not feel proud.
December 22, 1990, Los Angeles Times, San Diego County Edition, Metro Section. Balboa Park shelter remains closed despite rain and cold, by Monica Rodriguez . . . city on going to open shelter in Municipal Gymnasium because temperature had not dropped low enough.
December 24, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-6. Letter, Larry L. Marshall: “As president of the Japanese Friendship Garden I want to express our appreciation for the insightful and supportive editorial, “A new jewel in Balboa Park” (12-14-90). It poetically captured the spirit of the garden while Richard Amero in his companion article has placed this ambitious project in historical perspective.”
December 27, 1990, Los Angeles Times (M), A, 21:1. In a letter to the San Diego Zoo, investigators at the Humane Society of the U.S. contended, on December 26, 1990, that the zoo’s elephant exhibit is inadequate and “extremely dangerous” for both the huge mammals and their keepers in the wake of an accident after which Maya, a 51-year old Asian elephant, which fell into a moat, was destroyed humanely.
December 28, 1990, San Diego Tribune, B-8. Letter, Lee Fleming Reese, Allied Gardens: “Not only were Japanese interned, so were Germans and Italians, and it was not racism.”
Date unknown. Citizens Coordinate for Century 3: Balboa Park — Diamond Jubilee and Beyond.
Return to Amero Collection.
BALBOA PARK HISTORY
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