|Sent on:||Monday, October 10, 2011 5:38 PM|
When we attempted to obtain a date for EarthFair 2012 from Balboa Park staff, we were told that the park WOULD NOT ISSUE A PERMIT FOR EARTHFAIR as it had the previous 22 years. Ultimately, after doing much research, we wrote a letter about our findings (read the letter: http://earthdayweb.org/Download/BP_EFLetter.pdf). We were subsequently informed that they WOULD issue the permit.
However, it was clear from this action that there are powerful forces at work in the Balboa Park community that want to see that EarthFair is forced out.
Now, it has just come to our attention that tomorrow, Tuesday, October 10 at 2pm, Item 332 will come before the San Diego City Council that, if passed, would allow city staff to deny the permit for EarthFair in Balboa Park.
If you care about EarthFair, and want to be sure that it continues to be available in Balboa Park, immediate action is required:
1) Show up at City Council tomorrow, Tuesday, Oct 11 at 2:00pm:
202 C St, San Diego, CA 92101
Fill out a speakers slip (you don't have to speak) and say that you oppose Item 332; and that you support San Diego EarthWorks' comments (see below) and want to ensure that EarthFair remain in Balboa Park.
2) Fill out a San Diego City Council Meeting Agenda Comment Form on the web:
3) If you live in the city, call your councilperson's office, request that they oppose Item 332, and demand that they support EarthFair in Balboa Park. Visit http://www.sandiego.gov/citycouncil/ for Council phone and email info.
We apologize for this last-minute action, but the stakes are high. San Diego EarthWorks - and the tens of thousands of citizens of San Diego - thank you for your support.
San Diego EarthWorks
CFO / EarthFair Production Manager
San Diego EarthWorks
Carolyn Chase's proposed presentation to City Council on Tuesday, Oct 10:
Please do not pass the proposed amendments for Park Use Permits without changes! First, the most important concern - proposing to add the following language related to issuing the permit "is there is capacity for the proposed activity." Where is the capacity of Balboa Park defined??? Where is the "capacity" of any park defined?
Would you say specifically that Balboa Park has "capacity" for the Earth Day Fair in Balboa Park? It has for 21 years! However this year, when we applied for the park use permit for 2012 we were informed that the Park would not be granting any permits. While we never really got a straight answer from park officials as to why, further research with the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership and their representative on the Balboa Park Committee elicited the idea that Earth Day was "too big" so we are gravely concerned that the proposed amendments represent an attempt to codify denial of any future permits.
Please see the attached letter sent to Park & Recreation related to the permits required for the 22nd annual Earth Day Fair in Balboa Park. It provides additional background supporting our request not to support the changes submitted in ITEM 332: Amendments to Chapter 6 of the San Diego Municipal Code relating to park use permits which in fact are contrary to specific section of the Balboa Park Master Plan, specifically:
"Development and implement an effective management program that promotes
maximum public use and enjoyment of the Park." and "SPECIAL EVENTS
New and redeveloped facilities of the Central Mesa will be designed to accommodate multiple
uses, including special events and maximum public access."
We are also concerned about allowing staff to decline permits based upon "any recommendation from the appropriate park advisory body."
My experience in both Balboa Park and Mission Bay Park informs me that these Boards represent vested interests who believe that the parks are not to maximize public use, but to protect existing leaseholders and other groups who would like to see no events interfere with "their" parking and facilities. Indeed, we were told that the Balboa Park Committee supports December Nights but not Earth Day - but on what basis? December Nights is the largest event in the Park. So why should they get a permit and not Earth Day? That is where these changes are headed.
The policies in the Master Plan exist in part to protect the interests of ALL users of the public areas and not just those lucky enough to have a day-to-day interest.
Please do not proceed with placing additional and factually UNFAIR limits on special events permitting in parks. The current system is working well in balancing those interests.