Most of the park’s institutions had originally supported the Balboa Park bypass plan championed by philanthropist Irwin Jacobs and a nonprofit group called the Plaza de Panama Committee. That plan was much more complex and involved than Filner’s, and at $45 million was much pricier too.
The so-called Jacobs Plan, though, was thrown out by a Superior Court judge. This summer, an appellate court overturned that decision and the state Supreme Court refused to consider another appeal. So the city can legally proceed, but it remains unclear whether Jacobs and city leaders will resurrect it.
While the politics behind the plaza continue to unfurl, the park’s been left with Filner’s version. When the parking spots were first painted over, the newly minted pedestrian promenade sat nearly empty for weeks. Someone drove through the wide, open space and did donuts in the plaza. Those black skid marks served as a good reminder that something more needed to be done.