Council President Myrtle Cole tells the Bay Terraces Fil-Am Senior Association that construction of a long-awaited senior center has been delayed again. / Photo by Andrew Keatts

This post originally ran in the Nov. 3 Politics Report. Get the Politics Report delivered to your inbox.

Council President Myrtle Cole was also forced to deliver some bad news to constituents in a different part of her district Friday morning.

At Bay Terraces Park, she informed about 50 Filipino seniors – members of the Bay Terrace Fil-Am Senior Association, that the ground-breaking for a senior center scheduled for last month had been delayed until February.

At the last minute, Cole said, the city discovered the contractors it had selected for the $5 million project were not equal opportunity contractors and was forced to cancel the deal and restart the selection process.

The project was first promised to the community 27 years ago.

“If I have to get a shovel myself, I’ll make sure it’s done,” Cole said. “I just want it done right.”

The crowd of seniors shouted that they’d already been waiting 30 years. They held signs that said “no more broken promises,” “don’t take photos for your election” and “stop lying.” Montgomery was in attendance but didn’t speak.

Cynthia Suero-Gabler, an activist and organizer who also signed the letter to labor, said the city should have communicated with the community as soon as there was an issue.

“We have a problem with promises!” she said. “You need to either show up with a shovel or there’s nothing to discuss.”

Repeatedly, community members criticized Cole for not communicating with them when her office first learned of the delay.

After the meeting, 72-year-old Virgilio Parayno, a Paradise Hills resident, said he’s been hearing about the project since 1993 when he retired from the military.

“We’ll see,” he said. “I’ve been hearing it for 25 years. It’s not happening.”

Rudy Bautista, president of the Bay Terrace Fil-Am Senior Association, said he understands the reason for the delay, but like everyone else is simply frustrated.

“I appreciate their frustration – we’ve been waiting for years,” he said.

Andrew Keatts is a former managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego.

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