Moving Forward, or Taking a Breath

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    • #1796
      Al Rodbell

      This property was purchased through the efforts of a group of advocates largely energized by the creator of this web site. It was never submitted to even an informal plebiscite of the residents of this city. The closest we came is the recent election where the candidate who supported this purchase received about a third less votes than the one who opposed it, who is now the mayor.

      Of course the majority who opposed this will be paying for it through their taxes, even though they will have parking and traffic limitations on their visiting it, conditions that were never even evaluated. This purchase is now a fait accompli but we should not move forward with the same minority driving the decisions. At this stage moving the 19th century school house is premature. This should only be done when there is an approved plan for this site, and not before. It may well require movement of this school off site, such as to the museum complex on Quail Garden Drive, which will require agreement of the school board which should be obtainable.

      The proposal mentioned in the current “moving forward” article is: “to create a museum of art, history, culture, and the environment,” housed in refurbished existing classrooms and administration buildings. The report says the museum should “serve our community by providing a space for gathering, learning and inspiration” O.K. whose inspiration and whose history? Inspiration is personal, which is why we have both a Self Realization Center and a Padres Stadium. A history museum is more problematic. Shall it be of this small city, or something to represent the growth of suburban communities, driven by white flight resulting in the pathologies and benefits of urban sprawl. Controversial approach? Sure, as it should be. Any history exhibition is either hagiography or revisionist, meaning challenging accepted consensus.

      I never felt this was an appropirate function of city government, a view probably shared by the majority who never got to weigh in. But lets not compound the defective process of this purchase by forging ahead without public participation, and I don’t mean the handful who show up at council meetings. This will be the first step towards making this plot of land into something meaningful

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