By Colleen O'Connor
Who are these people on our City Council?
Did they just move here? Do they know nothing of the history of Mission Bay Park?
Don’t they realize that in 1987, 79% of the voters supported Proposition D to preserve Mission Bay Park from increased development, commercialization and loss of open space?
Here is the actual language of that three-decades-old charter amendment:
AMENDS THE CHARTER OF THE CITY OF SAN DIEGO BY ADDING SECTION 55.1. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Charter to the contrary, the total land and water area of all leases in Mission Bay Park shall not exceed twenty-five percent (25%) of the total dedicated land area or six and one-half percent (6.5%) of the total dedicated water area respectively of the park without such lease being authorized or later ratified by vote of 2/3’s of the qualified electors of the City voting at an election for such purpose.
At that time, according to the Los Angeles Times, Mission Bay was already nearing the 25% maximum allowed under the provision.
“Currently, 24.8% of the land is leased for commercial purposes, primarily hotels and the De Anza trailer park,” the newspaper reported.
Has Mission Bay Park remained under that 25% mark for the last 30-plus years?
Who is counting? Do air rights enter into the definition now?
Did the City Attorney research this in advance of Monday’s 6-3 vote to extend Campland on the Bay’s lease for five years?
The agreement is replete with vague promises, healthy tax credits, and a wave to saving what remains of the open spaces and marshlands that once graced and protected the area.
Campland lobbied hard against environmentalists to preserve its resort lease, citing what it described as a need for affordable vacation lodging in San Diego. But the charter is pretty clear.
So, who are these council members who just voted 6-3 against the environmentalists and the charter to award another lease extension of the park?
Democrats Barbara Bry, Georgette Gomez and Vivian Moreno supported the environmentalists. But who are the other six?
And what was the hurry? The city moves like a snail on most other issues.
Have these six not noticed the continued expansion of SeaWorld with more parking, less green space, and more high-rise theme-park attractions?
Have they not comprehended the ugliness and water pollution that now defines huge portions of areas surrounding Mission Bay?
Ditto for the congestion and unsightly and unkempt environs. Just try to find the water views—other than from the multi-lane freeway expansions and the high-rise developments.
Do these six council members not realize that rising sea water is buffered by the marsh lands of Mission Bay?
If not, visit Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach to see the erosion first hand.
And now get ready for more environmental degradation and loss of opens space protections.
Already the 30-foot height limit is in the cross hairs with other developer ideas, including new draft designs for Harbor Island.
This will get “wild, wilder, and wildest” in the months and years to come—politically and environmentally speaking.
Colleen O’Connor is a native San Diegan and a retired college professor.
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