It’s any host’s nightmare: Pouring time and money into planning a big party, just to watch it blow up in a puff of smoke.
So imagine how the city felt when grand ideas and the bulk of a $3 million budget yielded zilch in the way of a centennial celebration for Balboa Park.
But what exactly happened? Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts dove in, uncovering how Balboa Park Celebration Inc., the nonprofit tasked with organizing the year-long party, let ambitious expectations drive their efforts into the ground.
The investigation examines just what role former Mayor Bob Filner had. For instance, initially, many wanted a forward-looking celebration. Edge 2015, is the branding they landed on. Filner hated it.
A new advertising firm was brought in to start from scratch, but Todd Gloria told us the new old-timey vision turned out to be a tough sell: “I’m not a pro at this stuff, but my sense was when you’re calling our high-tech companies about an event that … because of (Filner’s) vision of it became more backward-looking than forward-looking, it was hard for them to see a place for them in this, so their checks got smaller, or nonexistent.”
Read the rest of Lewis and Keatts’ story for a blow-by-blow of the long, slow trainwreck.