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Have you ever thought about privatizing the government and running it like a business? How would it work for us, as shareholders, if we expected the people running our company to actually perform and invest our money wisely — and get rid of non-performing employees?
While that is such a radical idea that those running the government would never accept it, we could certainly benefit as a region from that type of thinking. Balboa Park is an opportunity to establish the Balboa Park Conservancy as a private non-profit running the park for the benefit of the citizens and visitors to the park. If set up arm’s-length from government and politicians, it might actually perform to the benefit of the “shareholders” — the present and future visitors to Balboa Park.
How to fund this new venture? To capitalize this new company, I propose that the Balboa Park Conservancy look to the people from around the world who love the park.
San Diego has been called “The City of Dreams,” Balboa Park the “Soul of San Diego,” and El Prado has been called “The Avenue of Dreams.” Under the theme I proposed for the 100-year anniversary of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition, “BioInspiration, Imagination, Innovation, & Opportunity at Balboa Park — and Beyond,” the four main Plazas within Balboa Park would be rebranded for 2015. Plaza de California — in front of the Museum of Man — becomes “Plaza of BioInspiration.” Plaza de Panama — in front of the Museum of Art — becomes “Plaza of Imagination.” Plaza de Balboa — in front of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center — becomes “Plaza of Innovation.” Pan Pacific Plaza — in front of the Automotive Museum — becomes “Plaza of Opportunity.”
Honeycomb-shaped concrete pavers (basically, concrete paving stones) of different sizes and colors, with the unique characteristic that they clean the air when exposed to sunlight (and are self-cleaning to a great degree), could be etched with the dreams of the world’s donors. Instead of having names on the pavers, a small data link on each paver would provide access to an electronic database much like Wikipedia where people could expand on why their dream was and is important to them — telling the story behind their dream.
The pavers could start in the heart of Balboa Park at the Plaza of Imagination with a single, emerald green paver with the word “IMAGINE” on it. Those who donate the greatest amounts would be closest to the heart, with their interlocking pavers creating a visual pattern seen from high above the Earth. The expanding vision created by the dream would be interconnected by walkways of “yellow brick roads with blue spirals” which, spreading throughout Balboa Park, might grow to encompass the world — if the people of San Diego and the world think that Balboa Park, as the Heart of the Soul of San Diego, is worthy to hold the world’s dreams.
What will the San Diego region be in the world’s future? It has the opportunity to remain a little-known region at the corner of the United States, or it has the opportunity to become the repository of the world’s dreams. You decide!
Clarification: We’ve removed a biographical description. Kevin Swanson’s views do not represent those of the Balboa Park 2015 Committee.
More about Mr. Swanson’s idea can be found at his San Diego 2015 website.