Sunday, November 25, 2007
My dad Ron Bokovoy took all these photographs. As usual, five years later we are still waiting for all those photographs and video footage of our wedding. So whenever you're ready, send it in.
Tabby and her mom Pat Tomaselli at the hotel. We had most of the guests stay at this rooming house hotel called the Olde Town Inn. It's located in the Marigny District and was an old bordello that's been converted into rooms. It had an internal courtyard and garden that was perfect for people to just hang out.
Sunday, October 7, 2007
Now that I'm "retired" from scholarly writing, I plan to finish the remodeling on our house. No more weekends doing research writing, but rather painting, landscaping, carpentry, eating hamburgers and drinking some Miller High Life, and the usual break to get some runs in at the half-pipe at the skatepark. This literary historian named Ron wants to start a garage punk band this month, so I've pulled out my white SG and Les Paul custom, and hooked up my Marshall stack and Vox AC 30 again. To me, all this sounds more fun than reading documents, don't you think? I do.
"California’s fortunes appeared bleak during the recession of 1990-1991, and San Diego experienced defense plant and base closures, and lost important defense and high technology jobs. The recession almost halted downtown revitalization indefinitely. With one of the lowest tax structures in the American West, San Diego went through a fiscal crisis only deepened by twelve years of Proposition 13 tax deficits. When Republican mayor Susan Golding succeeded progressive Democrat Maureen O’Connor, there would be no possibility this politician with senatorial ambitions would raise taxes to pay for local growth in jobs, infrastructure projects, and downtown revitalization. Relying on her Greenspanesque city manager Jack McGrory, Golding’s administration had pulled the rabbit out-of-the-hat by 2000. Downtown stood almost completely revitalized. With a cash poor, general operating fund, one must ask, "How did growth happen?" All post-1991 downtown redevelopment suffered problems of municipal financing, since the general operating fund would not support municipal bond issues and threatened to halt projects underway for almost twenty years. Ever the resourceful financial manager, McGrory looked to San Diego’s recent past to remedy the budget situation, however, with dire consequences for the future. In the process, the period of urban growth and revitalization from 1992-2002 lacked an important ingredient central to earlier regimes of urban development, namely, public accountability.1
At the beginning of Golding’s administration, local progressives wondered how growth would proceed, with many hoping San Diego would avoid "Los Angelization." "San Diego has never been sure of what it wanted to be when it grew up," said Union-Tribune editor Neil Morgan, "What it did know is that it did not want to become L.A."2 Despite concern with "quality of life" issues, the boom of the 1990s proceeded in the downtown, especially the Gaslamp Quarter historic district. Known as the "New Orleans of the West," San Diego’s Bourbon Street offers its bright lights and bars and clubs, but there is almost nothing of historical interest similar to the street-level gravity that absorbs tourists who view the historic structures of New Orleans once they leave Bourbon Street. With the backdrop of history only 80 to 100 years old, Broadway and the Gaslamp district stand as the quintessential commuter paradises of postmodern urbanism, along with the ersatz-piazza design of the Horton Plaza Mall meant to resemble an Italian hillside village of the Cincaterra. Downtown has practically no sites of heritage tourism downtown. The historic district, besides increasing property values, serves as the backdrop for retail and cuisine-related commercial tourism.3
The secret recipe to Golding and McGrory’s "boom of the 90s" relied on an old formula, namely, utilizing funds from the municipal employee’s pension fund, which had been used for the Community Concourse in 1962. After the financially disastrous 1996 Republican Convention (in which an estimated $30 million dollars is unaccounted for, and no city budget documents exist), the city manager’s office approached the San Diego City Employee’s Retirement System board to propose redevelopment loans in lieu of monetary payments to the fund in exchange for future increases in payments and a lucrative early retirement program known as DROP for older employees.4 The SDCERS board, naturally, approved since the fund had generated windfall interest profits during the high-tech boom of the 1990s, centered in California. During the Reagan Era in California, municipal employee pension funds beaconed as available sources of operating revenue during the "downsizing" of local, state, and federal government, especially after Proposition 13. Democratic mayor Maureen O’Connor never entertained use of the pension fund as operating revenue. During the 1990s bull market, however, Golding and McGrory looked to the pension fund for operating revenue to continue projects begun by Pete Wilson, and leverage municipal bond issues for downtown revitalization. By November 2001, Frank Alessi, chief financial officer of the CCDC claimed "We have projects in active construction that are worth a billion dollars and another billion dollars in the pipeline." The ambitious list of tax-supported, bond issue projects were the convention center, 1996 Republican Convention, the $600,000,000 rehabilitation of Jack Murphy Stadium (now Qualcomm), the tax-supported ticket guarantee for Dean Spanos’ Chargers, and the $450,000,000 downtown Petco Park for John Moores’ Padres. Except for the downtown baseball park, which was on the ballot, financing for these public projects were determined behind closed doors. The local media reported suspicious improprieties that bordered on collusion, bribery, and conflicts-of-interest. There had been formal investigations, but no prosecutions except Valerie Stallings, who was sentenced for conflict-of-interest in land deals before the downtown demolition for Petco Park.5
Saturday, September 8, 2007
Now she's back to school and we have Boy Boy, I'm "retiring" from the historical profession to be at home with Spencer. Once she's done with school, we'll do an illustrated book on environmentally degraded towns in Oklahoma, mostly destroyed by the oil industry. It will be great to do a book that will matter, and is also close to home.
Wind Chimes, at our house.