Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009 | What we have observed at Old Town State Park is deplorable. State bureaucrats not only destroyed one of our favorite San Diego destinations for good food, drinks, fun and shopping, but they also showed us how quickly they allow our tax dollars to be squandered.

Hell-bent on creating THEIR perfect picture of history, the state did everything to ensure that retailer Diane Powers’ bid could not prevail. As their pick, Delaware North created a park environment that bureaucrats may have wanted but few people enjoyed.

The cost of this bureaucratic fiasco has been remarkable and in some ways immeasurable. From the start where state tax dollars were spent to conduct a bidding process and defend extensive appeals, bidders too made extensive investments. Ms. Powers then had the enormous cost to liquidate and vacate the premises only so that Delaware North could spend $2 million to demolish the beautiful Bazaar Del Mundo businesses and construct new facilities.

Even after the Delaware North opening in 2005, the economic devastation continued. The state shut down a revenue source that was producing over $22 million annually so that a new contract with Delaware North could provide a small fraction of that three years later. To make matters worse, many businesses in the areas surrounding Old Town suffered catastrophic losses in sales because visitors no longer found it attractive.

Where is the story about accountability here? And state officials expect us to quietly submit to even more taxes when we have such clear evidence of why we cannot trust them to protect and maximize state revenue? With bureaucrats like these in charge of decision making, we need not look any further to find out why California is experiencing deficits.

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