Does revitalization work?
There's a letter to the editor in the Sept. 2 issue deploring the loss of a North Park business, Caffe Forté. The writer added a poem to her letter about the decline she perceives in her community.
The interesting observation she makes is that “the gentrification failed, and took its share of victims.” She seems to mean the businesses that aren't in North Park anymore, like Caffe Forté, are the victims. But one could interpret victims to mean everyone in North Park. She implies some important questions. Is gentrification really happening? Where? With what success is it happening? If successful in one place but not another, what's the explanation? Where successful, do the original neighbors like it?
When the city wrote its Progress Guide and General Plan some years back, it made an implied bet—that gentrification would come to San Diego's poor communities and change them. The whole idea of villages in the PG&GP, and the huge emphasis on them in the Strategic Framework Element of the PG&GP was predicated upon an underlying bet that gentrification could be forced to happen, that if we enacted the rules, gentrification would follow. Nobody said so explicitly, but it was there, under the surface.
Has this letter writer blurted out that the king doesn't have any clothes on and that the underlying idea of gentrifying by plan or by fiat has failed. Do we have a PG&GP that the forces of economics, demographics, education and lifestyle preference are undermining? If the plan's a failure, what's to become of us? Fair questions, all.
The first serious villaging effort was the five pilot villages we planned to put into different communities across the city. They failed for economic, demographic, educational and personal reasons. Now comes a citizen to point out the obvious—that gentrification is not taking root, at least not in North Park, where it had some chance to sprout and bloom. I can assure you it isn't happening here in City Heights. Now what? Do we ignore the obvious? Do we re-open the PG&GP and fix it? Now what?
Jim Varnadore, City Heights
Marty Block is ‘gutless'
Assemblymember Marty Block is the perfect example of what is very wrong in local and state governments [Editorial, Sept. 2]. Politicians are so afraid of the law-enforcement lobby. It is precisely the reason why the state can't pass a balanced budget.
San Diego Sheriff and District Attorney budgets have risen by more than 700 percent in the last 22 years while the cost of living has risen 96 percent. All this while reported crime has steadily dropped for the past 16 years in San Diego. But every gutless politician wants to be law enforcement's choice, while sacrificing all other quality-of-life programs.
Joe Kownacki, Chula Vista
Jerry the Clown
About your Sept. 16 editorial commenting on a recent speech by San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders: Boy, what a bozo. San Diego's infrastructure is falling apart with no apparent plan or means of correcting this situation and he's talking about city monuments (city hall, library, convention center, etc). He's even talked about dumping more money into Lindbergh Field. I would have much more respect for a mayor who set out some sort of plan to replace and improve the infrastructure of the city.
I so enjoyed reading D.A. Kolodenko's “Presently Tense” column in the Sept. 2 issue about his displeasure with Bank of America. Being a “small bank” banker in San Diego for the past 35 years, I can't even imagine what possesses people to bank with one of those behemoths—no offense. Kolodenko epitomized the process with humor, and I hope that he finds a nice, friendly, “small” bank to do business with.
Karen Smith,Security Business Bank of San Diego