Thursday, July 10, 2008 | Come on, folks, let’s get real.

The lack of parking downtown is the worst thing about Petco Park. Proposing a stadium—especially one large enough for football crowds—on the waterfront is just plain goofy.

A multi-use facility? How many pro sports teams have to go belly-up in San Diego before our decision makers get wise? People live in San Diego because the weather is phenomenal, and we can play outdoors 365 days a year. That should be the focus of our tourism effort; get the outdoor people to come and play here.

There’s only a limited number of San Diegans who will pay to watch someone else play ball-and-stick sports; it doesn’t seem like much of an engine to drive our local economy.

Back on topic:

It seems like tourism and traditional waterfront uses can go hand-in-hand. I’ve only visited Seattle a couple of times, but that city’s huge tourist/shopping complex fits in quite nicely between the shipping industry and the commercial fishing concerns.

San Diego should be the busiest shipping port on the west coast, with the good-paying jobs that entails. With our access to maquiladora manufacturers, we should be the shipping hub of the entire Pacific Rim.

Instead, we push for more tourism-oriented development, and the plethora of minimum-wage jobs it creates. More hotels make money for developers, generate a few pennies, and of course create more demand for skilled labor like housekeepers.

Seaport Village? Please. We installed a tacky strip mall in the form of a New England fishing town, right smack dab on our waterfront, just to milk a few pennies from tourists and to create a few sales clerk jobs.

Keep building those hotels, and using cookie-cutter concepts to separate tourists from their dollars. How many amphibious tour buses can crawl around our streets and bob across the bay, with guides pointing out points of interest? (“Look, there’s a seal. Look, a big gray boat. Look, a building with green lights on top.”)

Eventually, tourists will just bypass us for Anaheim. At least there, visitors can pretend to have a unique experience by visiting the California Adventures theme park.

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