soho header
Preservation Action Alert 
- Resolution of Intention for a Memorandum of Understanding
with the Plaza de Panama Committee

I am writing to you today with an urgent request that will take less than a minute of your time to do. Time however, is of the essence so I ask that you do this at your very first opportunity.


A deliberate attempt to subvert and circumvent the public process has been presented to the City Council's Rules, Open Government, and Intergovernmental Relations Committee in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to go before them this Wednesday, June 8 in order to fund a private project by the Plaza de Panama Committee, more commonly known as the "Jacobs plan," to build a bypass bridge, paid parking garage and numerous other irreversible alterations to Balboa Park.


The reason the Plaza de Panama Committee/Jacobs Team is asking for a signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is so that they can claim the City's support for their project. This begs the questions:

  • Why is a private project being managed by the Mayor's office and being paid for with tax dollars?
  • What is the urgency for an MOU when the city is already fast tracking this project at breakneck speed and doing everything they can to move it quickly through the process?
  • Why is an MOU so critical at this time?
  • Why is an MOU necessary in order for the City to communicate "the City's cooperation in processing the Proposed Project through the steps necessary to bring it before the City Council for its decision?"
The City Council's Rules, Open Government, and Intergovernmental Relations Committee meets this Wednesday, June 8, 2011 on the 12th floor, at 9am, and this item is #3. We know that is a difficult time for most of you to attend and we are asking you to email your concerns. We have made it as easy as simply clicking on this link and signing your name or if you wish to go into more detail we have provided more questions below for you to think about. This will ensure that your voice and your opposition is placed into the public record.


The email link contains this paragraph:


Dear Council,


I am opposed to the Jacobs plan to irreparably alter the Cabrillo Bridge and Balboa Park and I am even more opposed to the unethical maneuvering of putting this MOU before you that for all intent and purpose disenfranchises the citizens of San Diego from the public process. I demand that this MOU not be signed, approved or moved on to council in any way.


Some additional questions to think about and/or ask your council member:
  • The requested action states for the committee to approve the MOU to specifically indicate council support. Further statements in the report saying this MOU does not obligate the city are disingenuous and clearly untrue. And so it begs the question, contrary to all public opposition to this plan, are you as a city councilmember going on the record as approving the bypass bridge, parking structure, big ditch through the park and re-routing of traffic into the Alcazar Gardens lot, AKA the Jacobs Plan?
  • The city's costs stated are $800,000 to a million dollars. If they are not paid in the variety of schemes laid out in the MOU then they will be absorbed into the current budget. As a city councilmember, is this okay with you?
  • Note Section 4.1.3 which states "to the extent possible, the City shall waive the cost of staff time related to General Fund department staff" and "For Enterprise Fund Department and City engineering staff, the City shall defer the collection of fees until project funds are available for their payment."
  • The Report to Council states costs to be incurred by the Development Services Department could total an estimated $800,000 to $1,000,000. These are all "up front" costs, much already incurred by numerous departments reviewing the project and completing the Cycle Reports.
  • From where in the budget are the funds coming for work that has already been done and will be done by City staff when these funds have yet to be raised by the Committee?
  • Why are costs not an up-front obligation by the Plaza de Panama Committee. Who covers the costs when the project isn't approved and yet the staff time (money) has been expended?
  • Under Fiscal Considerations it refers to staff time for planning and processing that "will be absorbed in the existing Park and Rec budget, as is customary by the Department when assisting with review of capital projects." The paragraph goes on to state that, if bond proceeds are not sufficient, costs will be covered by the Plaza de Panama Committee or "if such funds are not available, by the City's General Fund." As a councilmember faced with severe budget cuts now and with one of the stated goals of the city to be learning fiscal responsibility, is it okay with you that the City's General Fund will be used to cover this?

We think you will share our same concerns with this proposed MOU and on behalf of the twenty-two organizations and groups who are in opposition to this project, I thank you sincerely for your time; we can't save Balboa Park without you.


Custom tailor your emails from SOHO HERE
SOHO footer