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Plaza de Panama

2011 Project Coverage


KFMB News Coverage of Video Press Conference (KFMB-TV: November 28, 2011)

KUSI News Coverage of Video Press Conference (KUSI-TV: November 29, 2011)

KSWB News Coverage of Video Press Conference (KSWB-TV: November 29, 2011)

Balboa Park Bridge Proposal Unveiled (NBC San Diego: November 29, 2011)

Backers of Balboa Park Traffic Plan Unveil Video (Fox 5 San Diego: November 28, 2011)

Video Shows New Plan for Balboa Park Traffic (San Diego Union-Tribune: November 28, 2011)

What Plaza de Panama Renovations Look Like (Voice of San Diego: November 28, 2011)

Jacobs Releases Video Promoting His Balboa Park Plan (KPBS: November 28, 2011)

KUSI Walking Tour Series Kick-off Coverage (KUSI News: September 7, 2011)

CW 6 Walking Tour Series Kick-off Coverage (XETV: September 7, 2011)

NBC 7 Walking Tour Series Kick-off Coverage (KNSD: September 7, 2011)

ABC 10 Walking Tour Series Kick-off Coverage (KGTV: September 7, 2011)

Bill Walton Takes a Walk in Balboa Park (Voice of San Diego: September 7, 2011)

Basketball Legend Joins Plaza de Panama Team (NBC San Diego: September 7, 2011)

Plaza de Panama Kicks Off Public Walking Tour Series (Yahoo! Finance: September 7, 2011)


Philanthropist-in-chief (San Diego Union-Tribune: August 25, 2011)

Should Balboa Park be Redone? Member Survey Results (Voice of San Diego: August 11, 2011)

Balboa Park In Transition — Keep It Moving (San Diego Source: August 4, 2011)

Group Sues City Of San Diego Over Plaza De Panama Project (KPBS: August 3, 2011)

In Balboa Park Legal Fight, Both Sides Use the Same Case (Voice of San Diego: August 3, 2011)

Lawsuit Slows Balboa Park Renovations (NBC San Diego: August 3, 2011)

Preservationists Sue City Over Balboa Park Plan (San Diego Union-Tribune: August 2, 2011)

What Mayoral Candidates Say About Balboa Park Makeover (Voice of San Diego: August 2, 2011)

Saving the Heritage of Balboa Park (San Diego Union-Tribune: July 18, 2011)

Balboa Park's Contested Parking Plan: A View from the Ground (Voice of San Diego: July 17, 2011)

Moving Forward in Forefather's Footsteps (San Diego Union-Tribune: July 16, 2011)

Needed: a diplomat for Balboa Park (San Diego Union-Tribune: May 22, 2011)

Will 2015 expo make Balboa Park a 5-star attraction? (San Diego Union-Tribune: May 21, 2011)

A view of the bridge (San Diego CityBeat: May 17, 2011)

On Balboa Park (part 2) (Two Cathedrals: May 17, 2011)

On Balboa Park (part 1) (Two Cathedrals: May 16, 2011)

Letter to the Editor from Dr Jacobs (San Diego Union-Tribune: May 13, 2011)

Balboa Park traffic spat, Part 2 (San Diego Union-Tribune: May 10, 2011)

Lawsuits could jeopardize Balboa Park plan (San Diego Union-Tribune: May 9, 2011)

Cars and people don’t mix – restore park’s grandeur (San Diego Union-Tribune: May 8, 2011)

What's in the Balboa Park plan (San Diego Union-Tribune: May 8, 2011)

Balboa Park makeover in the works (San Diego Downtown News: May 5, 2011)

Plaza de Panama Project on San Diego People (KUSI: April 10, 2011)

  • Editor's note: The image of the bypass bridge shown on this program has been altered without the permission of the Plaza de Panama Committee. The official designs from the design team are available here.

Balboa Park makes list of "coolest" city parks (April 12, 2011)

Alternatives debated on Jacobs' park plan (San Diego Union-Tribune:  Mar 31, 2011)

Plaza de Panama plan focus of coming events (San Diego Union-Tribune:  Mar 24, 2011)

Cabrillo Bridge Choices Headed to Balboa Park Committee (San Diego Union-Tribune: Feb. 2, 2011)

Redesigning Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama (North Park News: Jan. 31, 2011)

A City of Great Public Spaces (San Diego Union-Tribune: Jan. 16, 2011)

Community Members Weigh in on the Future of Balboa Park's Plaza de Panama (San Diego News Room: Jan. 13, 2011)

Irwin Jacobs' Ladder (San Diego Citybeat: Jan. 12, 2011)

Renovation Plans Considered for Balboa Park ( Jan. 11, 2011)

Four Reasons to be Optimistic (Voice of San Diego: Jan. 10, 2011)

Balboa Park May Get a Makeover (NBC San Diego: Jan. 9, 2011)

Ban Cars from Park Bridge, Public Says (San Diego Union Tribune: Jan. 8, 2011)

Plan Would Remove Cars from the Center of Balboa Park ( m: Jan. 7, 2011)

Balboa Park Renovation Plan Under Fire ( Jan. 6, 2011)

Balboa Park Parking Plan Draws Fire (KPBS: Jan. 6, 2011)

Jacobs, SOHO Trade Blows on Balboa Park (San Diego Union Tribune: Jan. 4, 2011)


2010 Project Coverage

Four San Diego Parks to be Remade for Celebrations (San Diego Union Tribune: Dec. 23, 2010)

Jacobs to Zoo: I Wasn't Planning on Solving your Parking Problems (Voice of San Diego: Dec. 21, 2010)

Zoo Questions Parking Solution for Plaza de Panama (San Diego Union Tribune: Dec. 21, 2010)

Zoo: More Parking Needed, Yesterday (Voice of San Diego: Dec. 20, 2010)

In Balboa Park, a Plaza for People and Pomp (Voice of San Diego: Dec. 9, 2010)

Balboa's Good History Versus Its Bad (Voice of San Diego: Dec. 3, 2010)

Balboa Park at a Crossroads (Voice of San Diego: Dec. 1, 2010)

Expect the Unexpected Part 2: Irwin Jacobs on the Plaza de Panama Effort (San Diego Union Tribune: Nov. 15, 2010)

Traffic Always a Part of Balboa Park (KPBS: Sept. 10, 2010)

Plaza Plan for Balboa Park Unveiled (San Diego Union Tribune: Aug. 31, 2010)

Proposed Improvements to Balboa Park Unveiled (SanDiego6: Aug. 31, 2010)

Plan for Car-Free Plaza de Panama Unveiled (KPBS: Aug. 30, 2010)

$33M Restoration Planned at Balboa Park (10News: Aug. 30, 2010)

Mayor Reveals Car-Free Plaza de Panama Plans (FOX5: Aug. 30, 2010)

Jacobs Champions Balboa Park Effort (San Diego Union Tribune: Aug. 19, 2010)

Mayor Wants Cars out of Balboa Park Plaza (San Diego Union Tribune: Jan. 16, 2010)

Plaza Slideshow Test Page




Press Releases

Media Coverage

2012 Coverage

Hall: Would you pay to park at Balboa Park? (UT San Diego: October 24, 2012)

Balboa Park Construction Delayed to February (UT San Diego: October 19, 2012)

Plaza de Panama: Balboa Park renovation set to begin in October (The Daily Transcript: August 30, 2012)

Filner Flips, Backs Balboa Park Remodel (Voice of San Diego: August 22, 2012)

SOHO Sues City Over Balboa Park Plan (UT San Diego: August 13, 2012)

  • The Plaza de Panama Comittee issued a statement in response:

It’s disappointing that SOHO has chosen to waste taxpayer dollars by suing the City of San Diego in an attempt to subvert a two year democratic process.  The Plaza de Panama project was approved after extensive community outreach and input (with over 200 meetings), a unanimous planning commission recommendation, and a 6-1 city council vote. The environmental review for the project was the most extensive ever done in Balboa Park history and considered over 20 alternatives.  This painstaking and comprehensive effort balanced the interests of all San Diego citizens and Balboa Park users, and concluded that the approved project best prepares Balboa Park for the next 100 years while still honoring its past. It is now time for all of us to move forward with reclaiming the plazas from cars and returning them to the people.

Will Balboa Park's new look be better? (UT San Diego: July 15, 2012)

Idiotic? Let us count the ways (UT San Diego: July 11, 2012)

Letter to the Community: Todd Gloria explains his vote on Balboa Park changes (San Diego Gay & Lesbian News: July 10, 2012)

Plaza de Panama Plan Approved (UT San Diego: July 10, 2012)

Council Approves Plaza de Panama Plan (NBC San Diego: July 10, 2012)

City Council Approves Controversial Balboa Park plan (KUSI News: July 10, 2012)

Editorial - Plaza de Panama Approved at City Council - My Thoughts
(Scoop San Diego: July 9, 2012)

A new Balboa Park: What's gained and lost (UT San Diego: July 6, 2012)

Balboa Park: Time to act (UT San Diego: June 30, 2012)

Balboa Par k Could Be Even Greater if Jacobs Plan Implemented (Voice of San Diego Letter: June 26, 2012)

Jacobs Plan for Balboa Park 'Once-In-a-Lifetime Opportunity' (Voice of San Diego Letter: June 22, 2012)

Planning Comission Approves Plaza de Panama
(KPBS Radio News: June 8, 2012)

Planning Commission Approves Balboa Park Makeover (Fox 5: June 7, 2012)

Balboa Park Plan Approved by Planning Commission (UT San Diego: June 7, 2012)

Jacobs Deserves Thanks for Offering to Pay for Balboa Park Changes (Voice of San Diego: June 7, 2012)

Balboa Park Parking Solution 'Has to be Done,' Commission Chairman Says (UT San Diego: June 5, 2012)

Plaza de Panama Project Gets Mixed Votes from Council Advisory Committees (SD Uptown News: May 25, 2012)

Editorial - Plaza de Panama Project (Scoop San Diego: May 25, 2012)                     

Complications Persist for Plaza de Panama Project (KPBS: May 17, 2012)

Plaza de Panama Supporters Say Opponents Using Scare Tactics (KPBS: May 15, 2012)

Plaza de Panama Plan Endorsed by Balboa Park Committee (UT San Diego: May 3, 2012)

Spanish Language TV Coverage (NBD: April 2012)

Plaza de Panama Project Forges Ahead (UrbDeZine San Diego: March 30, 2012)

Spanish Language TV Coverage (Univision: March 2012)

SD Explained: Plaza de Panama (NBC San Diego: March 22, 2012)

Get on with Balboa Park Makeover (San Diego-Union Tribune: January 26, 2012)

Balboa Park Environmental Report Offers 21 Choices to Jacobs Plan (San Diego Union-Tribune: January 23, 2012)

Plaza de Panama: Cars or People? (La Mesa Courier: January 6, 2012)


2011 Coverage

2010 Coverage



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Interested in working at Balboa Park? Take a look at these open positions!  (**Edited 4/30)

Program Coordinator at Balboa Park Learning Institute (BPLI)
The Balboa Park Cultural Partnership is seeking a full-time Program Coordinator to support the Balboa Park Learning Institute initiatives. Please review the position description and qualifications in the attachment below, and follow the instructions to apply(MORE)

Visitor Experience – Assistant Manager at Mingei International Museum
Support management of day-to-day operations at the Museum’s front desk and in The Collector’s Gallery (Museum store), including coordination of all purchasing, providing excellent customer service and assistance with marketing, consignments and displays. (MORE)

Visitor Experience Associate, part-time, temporary at Mingei International Museum
The Visitor Experience Associate is the face of the Museum. The position is a liaison between the public and the Museum’s exhibitions, programming. The position can be located at the front desk or in The Collectors’ Gallery. The position provides exceptional customer service to enhance the visitor experience. The VE Associate must be knowledgeable about all aspects of Museum activities and able to communicate core messages in engaging ways to visitors and potential visitors. (MORE)

CAFÉ MANAGER/BARISTA PRINCIPALE at Mingei International Museum
The Barista Principale will manage daily operations at Café Mingei, located on the Plaza de Panama in beautiful Balboa Park. Duties include vendor relations, staff supervision and customer service, plus management of product quality and overall environment. This is a new, start-up operation and a fantastic opportunity for someone looking to make a difference in a mission-based nonprofit. (MORE)

Executive Assistant at the San Diego Museum of Man
This professional museum position requires a strong verbal and written communicator, an excellent problem solver, and someone who is well-organized, meticulous and tech-savvy. The Executive Assistant is critical in ensuring that the first impression of the museum is of the highest quality. We are seeking someone who is a team-oriented community builder and full of positive, can-do energy. (MORE)

Illusion Specialist at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center
Facilitates the interaction of museum visitors and school children with the ILLUSION exhibition and the scientific principles behind it. Experience and interest in magic and sleight of hand welcome. (MORE)

Director of Foundation, Corporate and Government Relations at TheNAT (San Diego Natural History Museum)
This position manages the cultivation, development, submission and stewardship of foundation, corporate and government proposals. In addition, this position is responsible for submitting timely and accurate reports for all existing grants, including progress and final reports. (MORE)

Security Officer(s) - Unarmed, temporary, part time, uniformed at TheNAT
 This is not an entry-level security officer position. Applicant should have two to five years solid security experience, preferably in a cultural institution setting. Related military service and/or previous law enforcement experience will be considered in part to satisfy this requirement. (MORE)

Plaza de Panama Project at 2012 Balboa Park December Nights

Thanks to everyone who stopped by our booth at Balboa Park December Nights and made this year’s festival so memorable! Just like last year, the project team hosted a booth in the heart of the Plaza de Panama, providing the ideal background for the team to connect with the San Diego community. The project team had a great time sharing information on the construction phases and timeline as well as getting into the holiday spirit with event attendees!

Sign Up for Text Message Updates

If you are interested in received the latest information about the Plaza de Panama project and Balboa Park, be sure to sign up for our new text message service. Text "BALBOA" to 56512 and your mobile number will be added to our list to receive text message updates about project status and parking and access during construction. Please note standard message and data rates apply.

Plaza de Panama Program Manager Makes San Diego Magazine’s “50 People to Watch” List

Every year, San Diego Magazine selects an eclectic mix of 50 San Diegans worth watching in the coming year. Gordon Kovtun, program manager for the Plaza de Panama project, has been named to San Diego Magazine’s “50 People to Watch” list for 2013. Gordon is the Principal of KCM Group, a full-service construction management firm based in San Diego.

Construction Schedule Updated
While construction on the Plaza de Panama Project was scheduled to begin in Fall 2012, the Plaza de Panama Committee has postponed to start of construction until Mid-February 2013 to allow for the resolution of litigation filed by project opponents.  A final hearing has been scheduled for February 1, 2013.  Despite the shorter construction period, the project is still scheduled to be completed in early October 2014, in time for the 2015 Centennial Celebration in Balboa Park. The four construction phases, estimated time frames and areas impacted are described in our construction fact sheet (pdf). We will continue to send out regular construction updates in our enewsletter.

Plaza de Panama Project Participates in Politifest 2012
On Saturday, September 29, the project team participated in Voice of San Diego’s Politifest 2012 at Liberty Station. The event consisted of a fun-filled day of political activism where attendees visited a variety of community booths from innovative local nonprofits, one of which was for the Plaza de Panama project. The project team had a wonderful time sharing new project information and construction updates with hundreds of event attendees. This year’s Politifest also included an exciting mayoral debate, Idea Tournament, kid zone, live music, and great eats!

City Council Approves Plaza de Panama Project Financing Plan
This week the city council voted to approve the financing plan for the Spreckles Organ Pavilion public parking garage. This was an important step required to move the Plaza de Panama project into construction phase. At the city council meeting, Councilmember Todd Gloria noted, “this is a necessary step to fulfill the obligation this council entered into when it approved the project, and it represents the city’s contribution to the overall project.” The Plaza de Panama Committee is grateful to the city council for its continued support, and to all of the city staff members who worked on putting the plan together in such a timely manner.   

Project Team to Participate in Upcoming Politifest
The Plaza de Panama Project team will be hosting a booth again at this year’s Politifest on September 29 from 10 am to 4 pm at Liberty Station. Put on by Voice of San Diego, this one-day festival focuses on civic issues and the future of San Diego, and is free to the public. Event attendees will be treated to a mayoral debate between the candidates, live music by The Blonde Brothers, Kid Zone complete with mini-voter booths, Stone Brewing Co. beer garden and dozens of community booths. Updated project fact sheets and information will be provided at our informational booth. We hope to see you there!

SOHO Announces Lawsuit Over City’s Project Approval

On August 13, Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO) filed a lawsuit against the City of San Diego's July 9 approval of the Plaza de Panama project. While disappointing, we are not surprised that SOHO has resorted to litigation once again in a final attempt to impede the project. The Plaza de Panama project was approved after a 2-year democratic process and has been studied more than any project in Balboa Park history. Despite SOHO's lawsuit filing, we are committed to moving forward with reclaiming the park from cars and returning it to the people. Mayor Jerry Sanders issued the following statement in response to the lawsuit filing:

"Once again, SOHO is threatening to harm Balboa Park if it didn’t get its way, by delaying long-needed improvements and holding our 2015 celebration hostage. All San Diegans should be extremely disappointed, as I am, by this narrow-minded special-interest group for trying to kill a project that will only further beautify this great park.”

Construction Update

The Plaza de Panama project team has made great progress with preparations to move the project into the construction phase. Construction will occur in four distinct phases to ensure that two-way vehicle traffic through the park is maintained at all times during construction and safe access to all institutions is provided. Phase one will involve utility relocation to accommodate the new Organ Pavilion parking structure. The four construction phases, estimated time frames and areas impacted are described in our construction fact sheet (pdf). Overall construction on the project is scheduled to conclude in advance of the 2015 Centennial Celebration in Balboa Park. We will continue to send out regular construction updates in our enewsletter.



City Council Approves Plaza de Panama Project

We are excited to share that the San Diego City Council voted yesterday 6-1 to approve the Plaza de Panama project! The vote came after several hours of presentations and testimony by members of the public. This decision is the culmination of nearly two years of public input and review by the City, and represents a significant milestone for Balboa Park. For more than 50 years, planning efforts in the park have sought to reclaim the plazas in the core of the park from cars, yet nothing has moved forward. The Plaza de Panama project will finally accomplish this goal and return more than 6 acres of plazas, promenades and parkland to park visitors. Following in the footsteps of the 1915 and 1935 Expos that created Balboa Park as we know it today, it is a fitting gift for the 2015 Centennial that will be enjoyed for generations to come.

Now that Council has voted to approve the project, the project team will begin preparations to move the project into construction phase. We anticipate that the project will be moving into construction toward the end of the year. Stay tuned for more updates!

Plaza de Panama Committee

The Plaza de Panama Committee is a sole purpose entity devoted to the development and implementation of the Plaza de Panama Project. It is separate, but complementary to, the Balboa Park Conservancy and the Balboa Park Centennial Committee. The committee will sunset with completion of the project. It is a 501(c)(3) California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation.

Dr. Irwin Jacobs

Irwin Jacobs is a volunteer Director and Chairman of the Committee. He was co-founder, chairman, and CEO of both Linkabit Corporation and Qualcomm, the latter now with about 11,000 employees in San Diego and 18,000 world-wide. Previously, he served on the faculty of UCSD for 6 years and MIT for 7 years. At MIT, he coauthored a textbook "Principles of Communication Engineering". Dr. Jacobs currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Salk Institute and of the National Academy of Engineering and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the IEEE, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Dr. Jacobs and his wife Joan are active philanthropists, strongly supporting educational initiatives at High Tech High, La Jolla Country Day, UCSD, Cornell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, UCSF, and Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology. They support many activities in San Diego including the SD Food Bank, Jewish Family Service, the SD Symphony, the San Diego Opera, the La Jolla Playhouse, the Old Globe, the new Central Library, and museums including the Reuben H. Fleet, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, Museum of Photographic Arts, Museum of Art, New Children's Museum, Atheneum, and the San Diego Natural History Museum.

Dr. Jacobs has received many awards, including the National Medal of Technology in 1994, the Leadership Council on Civil Rights Dorothy I. Height Chair’s Award in 2004, and honorary degrees from six universities.

Iris Lynn Strauss

Iris Lynn Straus is a volunteer Director and Secretary of the Committee. She is an active community volunteer, philanthropist and fundraiser.

Mrs. Strauss has a strong connection to Balboa Park in that she has recently been appointed by the Mayor of San Diego as a liaison for Arts and Culture and charged with planning the 2015 Balboa Park Centennial. This role also entails assisting with the North Embarcadero Visionary Plan (improvements to the San Diego waterfront) and coordinating the proposed remodel of the Civic Center Plaza in Downtown San Diego. As a former Commissioner of Arts and Culture for the City of San Diego, Mrs. Strauss served as chairperson of both the Public Art Committee and the Public Art Master Plan Committee, helping to shape the future of public art in the region. Mrs. Strauss currently serves as a Lifetime Director on the board of the San Diego Opera, where she was formerly the president. In her time with San Diego Opera, Mrs. Strauss worked to increase the patron base and secure many major gifts. Mrs. Strauss and her husband Matthew are also contemporary art collectors and active supporters of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Mrs. Strauss was honored with the 2004 Living Legacy Award by the Women’s International Center.

Donald Cohn

Donald Cohn is a volunteer Director of the Committee. He is a successful real estate businessman, philanthropist and community volunteer.

He currently serves as the chairman of the board for the Old Globe, an internationally known theatre complex located in Balboa Park. The Old Globe produces 16 plays and musicals each year in its three theaters, including the Old Globe main stage, the outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Stage and the Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre. The Old Globe operates on an annual budget of $20.5 million. Mr. Cohn, along with his wife Karen, are benefactors of the new Karen and Donald Cohn Education Center, which is the Old Globe’s first dedicated space for education and outreach programs.

Mr. Cohn established his business career in San Diego in 1961. From that time through 1979, he was active in the development of over 3,000 residential units both as a builder and investor. He founded Data Quick Information Systems in 1980, where he served as CEO and managed its growth to become the largest real estate information provider in the United States until its sale to Acxiom Corporation in 1995. Subsequently, he acted as founder and CEO of DTS Communications until its sale to a New York Stock Exchange firm in 1997. Since that time, he has been an investor in other business ventures and continues to manage his real estate portfolio.

David Cohn

David Cohn is a volunteer Director of the Committee. He is a successful restaurateur who, along with his wife Lesley, owns and operates eleven restaurants in San Diego (all within a three-mile radius of Balboa Park) and a twelfth in Kapalua, Maui, Hawaii.

Mr. Cohn is an active member of the San Diego community and philanthropist. Mr. Cohn currently serves as a board member of the San Diego State University Hospitality and Tourism Management Program, the California Restaurant Association and the Gaslamp Quarter Association. He also serves as Commissioner of the California Travel and Tourism Commission. Formerly, Mr. Cohn served as the past president of the San Diego Restaurant Association and past Chairman of the Board for the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Mr. Cohn has been recognized for his strong community and restaurant industry support. He has been awarded the Gaslamp Quarter Historic Association’s Vision Award, the San Diego Press Club’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for marketplace ethics. Mr. Cohn has also been honored by the San Diego City Schools for his exemplary support and commitment to partnerships in education.

Tom Gildred

Tom Gildred is a volunteer Director and Treasurer of the Committee. Born and raised in San Diego, Mr. Gildred comes from a family that has been actively involved in the San Diego community for three generations. He is a successful businessman as well as an active community volunteer and philanthropist. In 1995, he founded FMT Consultants, a business management firm specializing in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software implementations for midsize companies. He is the CEO and Chairman of the Board. Mr. Gildred is also the CEO and co-founder of Emerald Textiles, a new commercial laundry service offering textile rentals and textile management solutions for Southern California healthcare providers. He is Director of the Gildred Development Company and Gildred Building Company, which together comprise a privately held real estate development and management company. 

Mr. Gildred's active community involvement includes serving as President of the Board of Trustees for the San Diego Museum of Art. He also serves on the Museum’s Executive, Audit, Finance, and Compensation Committees. Additionally, Mr. Gildred is Chair of the Sharp Healthcare IT Committee, a past member of the Board of Trustees, and currently serves on the Finance, Audit, Growth Planning, Marketing & Communications Committees. He is a founding member of Vistage Group 3080 and has served on the Advisory Committee. He’s also a founding member of the Downtown San Diego Breakfast Rotary Club, a past member of the Board of Directors of the Mission Valley YMCA, a member of the San Diego Software Industry Council and a member of Fairbanks Ranch Country Club where he served on the Finance Committee.

Mr. Gildred holds an accounting degree from San Diego State University.

Peter Ellsworth

Mr. Ellsworth is a volunteer Director of the Committee. Mr. Ellsworth is President of the Legler Benbough Foundation and the Benbough Operating Foundation. The Legler Benbough Foundation makes grants to selected charities. The Benbough Operating Foundation operates a number of programs including Balboa Park Online Collaborative, a web development project for twenty cultural institutions in Balboa Park.

Prior to his position with the Foundation, Mr. Ellsworth served as President and CEO of Sharp Health Care and its affiliated hospitals. His term as CEO saw Sharp grow to a healthcare system operating 5 hospitals and 3 medical groups collectively taking care of approximately a third of all San Diegans. Before joining Sharp, Mr. Ellsworth served as President of Ellsworth, Corbett, Seitman and McLeod, LLC.

In addition to this committee, Mr. Ellsworth is currently serving on the Mayor’s 2015 Balboa Park Committee, and is serving on the advisory committees of The Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, San Diego Grantmakers, the Center for Ethics in Science and Technology and LEAD San Diego. Mr. Ellsworth has served on the Board of numerous local and national civic and cultural organizations including The San Diego Chamber of Commerce, Combined Arts of San Diego (President), The Neuroscience Institute, San Diego Grantmakers, San Diego Opera, and San Diego Blood Bank (President). He also served as a member of the Committee on Primary Care of the Institute of Medicine in Washington DC.

Mr. Ellsworth has undergraduate and a JD degree from Stanford University.

Alan Kidd

Al Kidd is a volunteer Director of the Committee. Mr. Kidd is the president of the San Diego Sports Commission and the San Diego Hall of Champions. As president of the San Diego Hall of Champions, Mr. Kidd was an instrumental player in the creation of the Sports Commission through the merger of the San Diego Hall of Champions and the San Diego International Sports Council.

Before joining the San Diego Hall of Champions in 2003, Mr. Kidd was a top-level executive at the global advertising agency of Saatchi and Saatchi. Upon his arrival, the San Diego Hall of Champions was saddled with debt, struggling financially, and suffering from a bad business model. In a short time, Mr. Kidd turned the organization, coordinated the merger, and now oversees an organization that has an annual budget of approximately $2.2 million. Mr. Kidd has also been a leader behind the Sports Commission’s dedicated effort to increase community outreach programs for youths, including the organization of sporting events, clinics and leadership programs.

In his spare time, Mr. Kidd contributes considerable time, effort and resources to his personal foundation, the Paul Serra Sports Foundation, named after a former coach who gave him a boost when he was a youngster.

Jessie Knight, Jr.

Jessie Knight, Jr. is a volunteer Director of the Committee. He is chairman and CEO of San Diego Gas & Electric. Previously, Mr. Knight served as executive vice president of external affairs for Sempra Energy, president and chief executive officer of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and commissioner for the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) after being appointed by then California Governor Pete Wilson.

Prior to his appointment as CPUC Commissioner, Mr. Knight was employed as executive vice president of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, vice president of marketing for the San Francisco Chronicle and San Francisco Examiner newspapers, and director of marketing for the U.S. and Canadian pineapple business of Dole Food Company, Inc. Mr. Knight is also a board member of the Seattle-based Alaska Airlines and the San Diego Padres Baseball Club and serves as a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Mr. Knight holds a bachelor’s degree from St. Louis University was a fellow of the University of Madrid and holds a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Wisconsin.

Dene Oliver

Dene Oliver is a volunteer Director of the Committee. He is the founder and chief executive officer of OliverMcMillan, one of the largest commercial development firms headquartered in San Diego. OliverMcMillan has designed, developed and/or managed8,000,000 square feet of office, commercial, industrial, residential, retail, research and development, and mixed-use projects with a total project value in excess of $1.2 billion, and are currently working on projects worth more than $2 billion. Mr. Oliver was born in San Diego, received his undergraduate degree in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics from the University of California at Berkeley and earned his law degree from the University of Southern California School of Law. Mr. Oliver also attended the University of Southern California Graduate School of Business Administration.

Throughout his professional career, Mr. Oliver has been active in both professional and community organizations. He currently chairs the San Diego County 10-Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness and has been awarded the Founders Award and the Humanitarian Award by the Downtown San Diego Partnership. Mr. Oliver was appointed by the San Diego City Council to the board of directors of the $200 million San Diego Convention Center, served as president and chairman of the Board of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation, and was the founding Chairman of the Expansion Committee of the San Diego Convention Center that completed a $300 million expansion. Mr. Oliver is also a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC), the Urban Land Institute, and a frequent speaker at various industry-related organizations.

Darlene Shiley

Darlene Shiley is a volunteer Director of the Committee. She is an active community volunteer and philanthropist. Mrs. Shiley is a California State University alumna who believes strongly in giving back to her community.

Currently president of The Shiley Foundation, she has a presence in the major universities in San Diego and beyond. She and her husband, Donald, a pioneer in the medical device field, have made significant leadership gifts to San Diego State University, the University of San Diego (USD), the University of California San Diego (UCSD) and the University of Portland. Mrs. Shiley is the current chair of the USD Board, only the second woman to hold that position. She also serves on the Salk Institute Board, the National Alzheimer’s Association Board, the Shiley Eye Center Advisory Board, and Scripps Clinic Advisory Boards. She has served on the City of San Diego’s founding Commission for Arts and Culture, The Board of the Old Globe, the New York-based National Corporate Theatre Fund and the KPBS Community Advisory Board. Mrs. Shiley has a degree in theatre arts from San Jose State University. The Shiley Theatre at USD is named in honor of her and Donald’s endowment of the Master of Fine Arts program.

Mrs. Shiley’s numerous honors include the San Diego Press Club Community Activist Headliners of the Year, the UCSD Distinguished Service Medal, KPBS’ first Woman of the Year Award, Volunteer of the Year Award from the National Society of Fund Raising Executives (now AFP), and the Girl Scouts’ Coolest Woman of the Year. She and her husband were named AFP Philanthropists of the Year, and received USD’s Presidential Honors and the UCSD Chancellor’s Medal for extraordinary contributions to education.

Mike McDowell

Mike McDowell is a volunteer Director of the Committee. He currently is Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego Lodging Industry Association, an organization that advocates on behalf of the local lodging and tourism industries.

A California native and San Diegan since 1977, Mr. McDowell has a 30-plus year career in the hospitality industry and a long-standing demonstrated devotion to Balboa Park. He is a Past-President of the Balboa Park Central (formerly the House of Hospitality Association) Board of Directors, and was recently re-appointed as Vice Chairman of the Balboa Park Committee for the City of San Diego. In addition, Mike is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. He serves on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Port Tenants Association, and in an ex-officio capacity on the Board of Directors of the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau. He continues to serve on the Proposition M Independent Citizen’s Oversight Committee for the Palomar Community College District and was appointed to the Mayor’s Citizen Taskforce on the Convention Center Project.

Betty Peabody

Betty Peabody is a volunteer Director of the Committee. For more than nearly 40 years, Betty Peabody has played an active role in the success of Balboa Park. A founding member of the Balboa Park Millennium Society, she also served on the board of directors for Exposition 2000 - A Millennium Celebration in Balboa Park and was a co-founder of both the Friends of Balboa Park and the Balboa Park Alliance. For eight years, she was a member of the board of directors of the San Diego Museum of Man, and she has been a member of the Central Balboa Park Association since its inception. She has served as president of the Klee Wyk Society of the Museum of Man, Caridad International and the House of Hospitality. She chaired the House of Hospitality’s grand re-opening in 1997 and received the organization’s lifetime membership award. She was also the 2001 Rotary District Conference/Balboa Park liaison.

Mrs. Peabody has also been a distinguished civic leader in other San Diego organizations serving on the board of San Diego County CrimeStoppers, chairing Caridad International and the Mercy Hospital Ball, and co-founding Point Loma Acts Now (P.L.A.N). Author of “Women Physicians in Early San Diego,” Mrs. Peabody has traveled extensively with her physician husband, Homer.

Mrs. Peabody is the recipient of numerous awards including: Woman of Dedication; The San Diego Crime Commission “Blue Knight award”; San Diego Crime Stoppers “Lifetime Achievement Award”; the City of San Diego District 3 “Community Spirit” award; and the Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Recognition award.

Plaza de Panama Public Dialog/Agency Letters

Letters in Support

San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce (July 18, 2011)

Centro Cultural de la Raza (July 12, 2011)

San Diego History Center (May 2, 2011)

Hornblower Cruises and Events (April 21, 2011)

Courtyard by Marriott - Old Town (April 21, 2011)

San Diego Zoo (April 18, 2011)

San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau (April 15, 2011)

Hacienda Hotel Old Town (April 7, 2011)

The Grand Del Mar (April 6, 2011)

Manchester Grand Hyatt (April 5, 2011)

Del Mar Fairgrounds/Racetrack (April 4, 2011)

Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines (April 4, 2011)

Sheraton San Diego (April 4, 2011)

Trigild, Inc. (April 4, 2011)

San Diego Hilton Mission Valley (April 1, 2011)

Humphreys by the Bay (April 1, 2011)

Prime Time Shuttle (April 1, 2011)

PRA Destination Management (April 1, 2011)

San Diego Hotel-Motel Association (March 31, 2011)

Sea World San Diego (March 30, 2011)

Timken Museum of Art (March 11, 2011)

Mingei International Museum Board (Feb. 28, 2011)

Banker's Hill/Park West Community Association (Feb. 10, 2011)

Mingei International Museum (Jan. 29, 2011)

San Diego Museum of Man (Jan. 27, 2011)

2015 Steering Committee (Jan. 26, 2011)

San Diego Air & Space Museum (Jan. 23, 2011)

Reuben H. Fleet Science Center (Jan. 14, 2011)

Museum of Photographic Arts (Jan. 12, 2011)

San Diego Natural History Museum (Jan. 11, 2011)

Mathieu Gregoire (Jan. 10, 2011)

Balboa Park Central (Dec. 1, 2010)

Balboa Park Cultural Partnership (Sep 22, 2010)


Letters in Opposition

North Park Historical Society (May 2, 2011)

Eyton Shalom (April 28, 2011)

Rosemary Reed (April 14, 2011)

San Diego Archers (April 13, 2011)

Louise Russell (April 5, 2011)

Samantha Ollinger (April 5, 2011)

Elizabeth & John Weems (April 4, 2011)

Bjorn Palenius (April 4, 2011)

Mission Hills Heritage (Feb. 24, 2011)

The Committee of One Hundred (Feb. 4, 2011)

Hillcrest History Guild (Jan. 31, 2011)

Neighborhood Historic Preservation Coalition (Jan. 23, 2011)

La Playa Heritage (Jan. 17, 2011)

Citizens Coordinate for Century 3 (Jan. 21, 2011)

San Diego Council of Design Professionals (Oct. 21, 2010)


Public Dialogue/Agency Letters

Letter from State Historic Preservation Officer to City of San Diego (Feb. 11, 2011)


Dr. Irwin Jacobs to Save Our Heritage Organisation (Dec. 31, 2010)

Save Our Heritage Organisation to Mayor Jerry Sanders and Dr. Irwin Jacobs (Dec. 20, 2010)


Dr. Irwin Jacobs to San Diego Zoo (Dec. 21, 2010)

San Diego Zoo to Mayor Jerry Sanders and Dr. Irwin Jacobs (Dec. 16, 2010)


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