Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2006 | Re: Rachael Laing’s comments about the Navy Broadway Complex Redevelopment Project in her December 19th Café San Diego blog reflect her lack of knowledge of how the original project planning took place in the late 1980s. Having served on the public advisory panel to the Bayfront Complex Coordinating Group (BCCG), I’d like to fill in some background on the project.

Laing asserts that: “In reality, the people of San Diego – as members of the public committees that govern the planning process – are the ones who came up with the planned use for these projects. These plans weren’t hatched in a fog of cigar smoke in a private room at Dobson’s. These were long, public processes. The developers merely provide the specifics (design), the capital, and the execution.”

Sorry Ms. Laing, but that’s not how it happened. The Navy, the city and CCDC played an insider game every step of the way. The three factions allowed SANDAG to create the BCCG to provide a fig leaf for the project, but it was a done deal going in.

Members of the Public Advisory Panel told the BCCG that the amount of square footage being considered for the NBC site was far too great, but were ignored. In fact, the final decision on project square footage was decided by the BCCG insiders only after the public planning process had been closed.

At the time, CCDC was in a panic because of a downturn in downtown development and were concerned that they might have to default on redevelopment bonds issued to rebuild downtown. So they were ready to give away the store to the Navy, in a vain attempt to restart downtown redevelopment. The Navy sat on the project entitlements for more than 15 years.

While CCDC held a series of public input workshop earlier this year to get more feedback on the proposed project, that public feedback for the most part has been ignored, and the project is moving forward just as the insiders envisioned it more than 15 years ago.

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