Speech read before the Commissioners
At the State of the Port swearing in on Jan 7th, 2016
Good evening everyone. Congratulations commissioners. This group of commissioners is entering into uncharted waters for the first time in the Ports history. The port is no longer turning sandbars into usable land and they are no longer developing vacant parcels. When developing these areas, you can almost do no harm. Anything would be better than a parking lot. Now the commissioners are going to be making decisions that will drastically affect the lives of San Diego families and special places that our community and visitors treasure. My wife and I have been tenants in Seaport Village for 16 years. It was our dream as young entrepreneurs to lease a store in Seaport Village and it took 5 years of persistence before we achieved that goal. Seaport Village is an amazing breading ground for entrepreneurs for this generation and generations to come, if you can’t make it here you can’t make it anywhere. My wife and I have made Seaport Village our life and now have 4 stores in Seaport Village. We’ve raised our family in Seaport Village and our oldest will be heading off to College in the fall. The demise of Seaport Village would be devastating for our family and over 100 other families that Seaport Village supports.
In the eyes of the Port staff, Seaport Village is like my 13-year-old sons Christmas money; it’s burning a hole in their pocket. Generating more income for the Port is there is their main objective. Just because the lease is up for Seaport Village in 2018 doesn’t mean we need to burn it. Seaport Village is exactly what visitors to San Diego want. They don’t want cookie cutter shopping areas with big chains and all the stores they see at home. They don’t want Tiffany and Louis Vuitton, even those left downtown for Fashion Valley. They want unique one of kind shopping areas with character. The age, the quaint buildings, the maturity of the landscape and the small shops give it that character. Visitors to San Diego have validated Seaport Village by ranking it the #1 shopping destination in San Diego on TripAdvisor and the sales per square foot that Seaport Village generates is among the highest in the country. Upper income locals may avoid Seaport Village and Disneyland for that matter, but the majority of the population loves them. Sure Seaport needs a facelift, so let’s do that and build something world class around it.
No matter what city you live in, locals will always avoid the touristy areas. It’s not because they don’t think they are special it’s because they don’t want to deal with the crowds or the parking, it’s just human nature. Seattle would never dream of tearing down Pikes Place Market and San Francisco would never destroy Pier 39 and we shouldn’t do it to Seaport Village either. In just 12 years after the lease expiration of Seaport Village it will be considered a historic landmark. San Diego is such a young city and doesn’t have as many historic areas as most, so lets save Seaport Village for generations to come. Please visit saveseaportvillage.com