Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

PIMBY offense: Please In My Back Yard.” – Sandra Simmons

All around the city, residents plead the NIMBY defense (Not In My Back Yard!) when presented with denser development options, housing for the poor or homeless, or any other issue they perceive might lessen their current experience of everyday life.

After nearly four years of extensive collaboration by residents, stakeholders, consultants, and Centre City Development Corporation, the Downtown Community Plan and related documents were finally presented to City Council.

Amongst all the lobbyist and community group leaders, I stood before City Council as a resident and pleaded what I coined as “the PIMBY offense.”

Downtowners certainly desire and deserve all the related services and retail options as other neighborhood communities enjoy; we, too, want jobs, cultural events, and dining experiences.

Herein lies the difference: we want it all within walking distance of our homes, and this can only be accomplished with a density combining mixed-use residential and office buildings with retail spaces. We want a diverse, eclectic environment in our back yard. We want a truly urbane, urban experience.

Thanks to our City Council for having the foresight to make our world-class neighborhood community a reality sooner, rather than later.

However, there are several significant issues that still need to be resolved, which is where my telling of this story begins. Over the next several months, I will delve into issues that may impact our pocketbooks and lessen the experience of our everyday lives.

One of those issues makes me furrow my brow. It’s the sudden interest of all those who don’t live Downtown claiming their right to shape our community’s future.

You don’t see Downtowners attending City Council meetings on planning and development issues for Pacific Beach, La Jolla, or Clairemont. Why do these folks feel suddenly compelled to express how our neighborhood community should be developed?

Why now? Where were all these “San Diegans” when Downtown was blighted? When they turned their backs as if to say, “NIMBY?” Now, Downtown has become a unique asset? All of a sudden, Downtown is for everyone?

I weigh...Is Downtown for Downtowners?

In talking to fellow Downtowners, I thankfully realize I am not alone in my musings.

It’s nice that others feel ownership in Downtown, but where’s the money? These citizens need to contribute by helping fund the Central Library, and moving businesses and the regional Post Office back Downtown. – Gilda Servetter, Park Row.

Why do people outside Downtown feel they have a need to provide input? What resources can they provide to Downtown? Are they planning on moving Downtown? Where were they when we needed them? – questions Yadida Colbert, Treo.

Those who do not live in Downtown don’t experience the day-to-day problems and the joys of living in an urban environment, so how can they possibly understand the needs of Downtown residents. – Claudine Scott, Rowhomes on F

We must not let interlopers change what took our community four years to create. We are building a vibrant community, neighborhoods where everyone knows your name. - April 2006

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