Playing KoiEditorial, Top Highlights Tuesday, August 14th, 2012
As the Balboa Park lily pond scandal reaches new heights, I have advice for Councilman Carl DeMaio and his life partner, Johnathan Hale: Don’t play coy with the truth.
DeMaio has vehemently denied that Hale had any involvement with the water gun fight in Balboa Park that caused tens of thousands of dollars worth of damage to one of the city’s crown jewels.
Unfortunately for DeMaio and Hale, the Internet is an unforgiving place. On a Web site belonging to Hale Media, the water gun event was a suggested activity in the column “Jim Winsor’s Out & About.” The event was entitled “Waterfight!”
While DeMaio denies Hale’s involvement, the column reads as follows:
“And this Saturday, we have a unique and unusual event coming up: A midnight water gun fight in Balboa Park being organized by Ken St. Pierre and others. …First squirt will be at midnight and then it is a free-for-all of water gun madness!!!” Madness indeed.
One question is who are the “we” referred to in Winsor’s column? When he used the term in the entry above “Waterfight!” Winsor says “we
got a big night at Rich’s this Friday for Circuit Pop.” Circuit Pop is a Hale Media promoted event. When Winsor uses
“we” referring to the Balboa Park event, any reader would assume it is also a Hale Media promoted event.
As a publisher, I understand the challenges that my editor makes concerning the use of our media properties to publicize public events. One of the issues we deal with frequently is whether an event has the proper permits. While there are exceptions concerning public protests, it is clear that the water gun event did not have permission from the city to have thousands of people in the park at midnight.
It was completely irresponsible for Hale Media to promote an unpermitted gathering in Balboa Park that was not a protest or an exercise of free speech. It was just a bunch of folks who wanted to have an activity at midnight that resulted in the desecration of one of San Diego’s civic treasures.
Executive members of Hale Media properties were in attendance at the water gun fight and have been identified in video from the crime scene.
The organizers and attendees of the event may face felony charges from the city. The threshold for being charged with “felony vandalism” is damages exceeding $400. Tens of thousands of dollars in damage could result in a lot of people being charged with felony vandalism. “Calling District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. Stat!”
My additional advice to DeMaio and Hale (and I know they’re waiting for it) is to come clean. Everyone knows the cover-up is worse than the scandal itself. It will come out if Hale Media either forwarded or generated emails or Facebook invites to the event. As I said, the Internet is very unforgiving.
At the very least, Hale Media helped generate participation at the water gun fight through Jim Winsor’s Out & About column. Hale Media recently claimed that more than 100,000 people accessed their Web site in July. Therefore, they promoted the water fight to those 100,000 people.
DeMaio is playing coy with the truth. When will we see media interviews with Hale and the organizers? That might help set the record straight.
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