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Petitioning San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and 8 others

San Diego City Council: Amend the Municipal Code to allow the Plaza de Panama project to proceed

Do you agree that Balboa Park--Plaza de Panama should be returned to pedestrians rather than kept in its current and deteriorating state as a parking lot? Then please sign the petition and pass along to your friends, family, and colleagues.

The Plaza de Panama Project will remove traffic and parking and return pedestrians to the core of Balboa Park by creating six acres of usable park space. The vast majority of the project would be funded by private donations, not taxpayer dollars.

In July 2012, after hundreds of public meetings, years of design and numerous City hearings, the San Diego City Council approved the project with a 6-1 vote. However the project was challenged in court by a small but vocal group that was able stop the project on a legal technicality. On February 4, 2013 the San Diego Superior Court reached a “reluctant conclusion” and ruled that the Plaza de Panama Project violated the City’s Municipal Code because the land in question already has a “reasonable beneficial use” — even if it is a parking lot. The court’s final ruling is crystal clear – this is a beneficial project for the City and its residents and its ruling comes with a heavy heart. The court writes that “the status quo in the Plaza de Panama results in an ‘undesirable park experience’” and that this “long desired project” is “a wonderful opportunity”. The court goes on - “the positives from the project seem to far outweigh the negatives” and the opposition is “shortsighted” in arguing that the existing cars and traffic conditions are a “reasonable beneficial use”.

We are at a historic cross-roads in Balboa Parks history and I urge you to tell The City Council to set this right by amending its Municipal Code to allow the Plaza de Panama project to proceed as approved. Please sign today and urge The City Council to take action and not let this important opportunity to improve Balboa Park for generations to come pass us by!

Letter to
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner
San Diego City Council Member Kevin Faulconer
San Diego City Council Member Marti Emerald
and 6 others
San Diego City Council President Todd Gloria
San Diego City Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner
San Diego City Council Member Mark Kersey
San Diego City Council Member Lorie Zapf
San Diego City Council Member Scott Sherman
San Diego City Council Member David Alvarez
I strongly support the Balboa Park Plaza de Panama Project to replace streets and parking lots with six acres of new pedestrian park space. I urge you to amend the Municipal Code to allow the Plaza de Panama Project to proceed as approved by the City Council.

The Plaza de Panama Project realizes the decades-old goal of transforming Balboa Park from a parking lot into a pedestrian paradise. The project has the support of the City, park institutions and community groups and is funded mainly through philanthropy. It is shovel-ready and can be complete before the Centennial Celebration.

The San Diego Superior Court ruled that this project violates the City’s Municipal Code. The court’s “reluctant conclusion” is that the current configuration is a “reasonable beneficial use”. This ruling preserves the status quo, which the court agrees is an “undesirable park experience” in our flagship public park.

Please remove the roads, parking lots and cars from the core of Balboa Park. Please expand safe pedestrian access. Please amend the Municipal Code to allow the Plaza de Panama Project to proceed.

Joshua Shapiro started this petition with a single signature, and now has 1,508 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.