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Ask Dr. Rich
Rich Simons | Upper East 11th Street

 

Q – I hear they are talking about tearing down our current City Hall and replacing it with something a bit more. . . well, modern. What do you think of this?– d.h.

Thank you for asking, because I feel strongly about this. It saddens me – yes, saddens me - when people begin to speak of abandoning old friends, institutions and, yes – buildings - that have served them well over the years. The edifice in question here has been a friend to our city for many, many years, housing a primary school initially, and then becoming our seat of government. And let’s face it: what we are talking about here is one of our city’ most iconic landmarks. Oh, it may not have pre-colonial balustrades or crenellated sconces, but it is one of the few examples we have remaining of the WWII-era California renaissance movement. The brick façade framing the front entrance defines the era, and the brick pillars may be among the few standing since the 1971 San Fernando earthquake.

And c’mon - let’s get serious now. While the Taj Mahal Del Mar is being erected, from where will our city government be operating? Are we going to pack all our city personnel into buses, like we did with our children that sad day long ago, and truck them to a place far, far away? I’m sure many of our readers had children in that school and remember the trauma when they had to be removed. How do you think our staff will respond to being rudely uprooted? Does this mean that we must now whole-heartedly support One Paseo just to have temporary office space?

And do you remember the last time you moved? All your possessions got packed into unmarked cardboard boxes, right? And wound up stacked in you new garage and it was years before you could find anything?! Can you imagine what a disaster that would be for our city archives? I mean – looky here, currently everyone in City Hall knows where all the documents are, right? Building permit forms are all tucked under Adam’s desk, minutes of City Council meetings are in the broom closet, over to the left. And so forth and so on.

Of course, as you know, the current building does not occupy the entire lot, nor does the new one need to. So I strongly suggest that the city does what it should have done long ago – build a three-story parking garage on the site so that for at least a little time we don’t have to listen to all the moaning about Del Mar’s lack of parking!

Okay, okay, I have heard a few negative things about the plumbing. So if you want to retrofit the bathrooms so you can get a monotonously perfect flush every time, do what you must. But I warn you – if you do, City Hall will never be the same again.


 

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