Welcome to Viva-city and Downtown San Diego
Sandra Simmons

Life in the City

-by Sandra Simmons

“Opportunity is a funny thing. It cannot be planned. It must be recognized when it chooses to present itself.” – Steve Peace and Ron Roberts, January 2007

Peace and Roberts further philosophize, “And when it's missed, it never seems to return in quite the same form. And then, eventually, it's simply lost, never to return at all.”

These are simple, but insightful words that make my head spin. We are in a time where opportunities abound.

Discussions have been ongoing for years about important and seemingly public projects along the waterfront. These have ranged from how to develop the Old Police Headquarter site, to other projects lining our water’s edge: Navy Broadway, Lane Field, North Embarcadero, Cruise Ship Terminal, and the airport now that voters have firmly chosen Lindbergh Field.

Past leaders made poor choices when they began to wall off our city from the Bay. Presently, many opportunities are being lost due to competing and differing entities developing our waterfront.

Stepping inland, decisions are being made (or not) that affect our daily life: the quiet zone, closing lanes and streets for three low-floor trolley cars along C Street, the Main Library, and placing the homeless Winter Shelter in the middle of an emerging neighborhood where 3,700 residents live.

What if Lindbergh Field’s terminal and parking facilities aren’t relocated to Pacific Highway and Sassafras? What inherent beauty will we miss when our waterfront is cluttered with a massive outcrop of structures and large ships? And, why can’t the Winter Shelter be located in a non-residential, industrial area along Pacific Highway?

I question…Are we planning the future or our demise?

A few of our fellow residents express concern and consideration of some of the current challenges and issues our neighborhoods face.

Bryant Katzen (Nexus) expresses, “Talk about lack of forethought, our public officials had eight years to find a viable, permanent location for the Winter Shelter. Instead, a last minute decision was made, without an impact study or citizen input, to damage the revitalization of East Village.”

The public is often ignored when taking a position on an issue, believes Tina Dameron (El Cortez), and only when a professional lobbyist or attorney is hired are they taken seriously. No wonder there is public apathy, when decisions are made prior to the item coming before the governing body.

The longer we wait to build the Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge, the more expensive it becomes. This iconic passageway will afford East Village residents connectivity to the water, and allow our visitors passage to neighborhood attractions. Yet, it feels as though it’s been swept under the rug. – Kimberly Stouffer, Metrome

It’s not about what could and should make Downtown San Diego the ultimate urban utopia; instead, the development is based on personal and immediate bottom-line agendas of those supposedly serving the public.

With this narrow, shortsighted focus and the lack of a strong cohesive leadership, our entire region will eventually bear the eventual consequence. - November 2007

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