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Readers are chiming in on the nonprofit Jacobs Foundation’s plans for community redevelopment in the Diamond neighborhoods of southeastern San Diego.

Here’s a letter from Barry Pollard, a former candidate for the fourth district’s City Council seat and an active resident of Valencia Park who lives a few blocks from Jacobs’ headquarters. He says he’s appreciative of some of the work Jacobs has done in the community, but thinks the organization could be more receptive of opposing opinions and promote transparency in its work.

Thank you for bringing this major issue to the surface throughout the City, VOSD. There is a sense that Jacobs is doing all of their “improvements” for the betterment of our community, but I submit there is no such thing as a “free lunch.” Jacobs is in some circles referred to as a “Trojan Horse” (based upon the old story with which we are all familiar.)

Being a lifelong resident of this community, I am always cautious with an outside entity coming over here and being too “giving,” (what about the concept of training folks and allowing them to be truly sustainable?).

What is their motive?

A fair amount of us are concerned about the balanced involvement our community has regarding Jacobs’ projects. It appears most of their support comes from organizations and individuals that have benefited financially from their “benevolence.” The pushback from our community involves the ones that haven’t “drank the koolaid.” The residents that perhaps have a more inclusive and broader perspective of Jacobs’ actions. Once again our community is “split” and potentially at odds with one another. There is a “middle ground”.

I would like to see someone from our community on the Board of Directors for Jacobs. Someone that has no, nor anticipates any “benefits” from Jacobs. Someone that in a fair and good faith manner have our short and long-term interest of our community at heart.

I would like to see a more transparent and frequent interaction/information sharing with the folks that haven’t “drank the koolaid” within our community.

I would like to see a plan that trains our own non-profit entities to access the grants rather than having Jacobs be the “gatekeeper” of the funds that have been accessed for use in our communities.

Are we talking about collaboration or are we talking about someone taking control of our neighborhoods?

Look, Jacobs is not the “boogeyman” of our community. They have done some good, and we all are appreciative, (in varying degrees). However, something needs to be changed in their process of “involvement”. I invite them to engage us all in a honest, non public relations manner, and to listen and implement some of our ideas.

Mrs. Matthews is right on the money, more rentals in our community is not what we need, we need more affordable homes, we all need to do a better job of collaborating. Jacobs isn’t going anywhere, and neither are we … now what?

Share your own thoughts by commenting on this post or shooting me an email at adrian.florido@voiceofsandiego.org

— ADRIAN FLORIDO

Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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