Community plans don't normally start wars. Normally community plans are about as scintillating as, well, community plans. But the one for Barrio Logan sure caused an uproar. And Diane Takvorian, the executive director of the Environmental Health Coalition, has been in the forefront of it.
She didn't expect the blowback that came from the shipbuilding industry over the one for Barrio Logan, which calls for a buffer zone to protect residential development. It says it will be a job killer.
She says baloney. “It is absurd to assert that EHC would work to eliminate jobs — our members are the ones who need them the most. Our challenge is balance good jobs with safe healthy workplaces and neighborhoods.”
Even though the City Council passed it, the shipbuilding industry launched a referendum drive to put the community plan on a city-wide ballot. Takvorian's agency sued, saying the signature gathering process was “fraught with misrepresentations” particularly over job losses. A judge dismissed it and the City Council voted to place in on the June ballot.
Arguably, no one is more influential when it comes to environmental matters in San Diego. The agency she heads is now in its fourth decade. The Barrio Logan Community Plan took five years and 50 meetings for a compromise to be reached, she said.
"While we think it's wrong that all of of San Diego will get to vote for one community's plan, those are the rules, so we will fight to win.”
She endorsed Bob Filner and David Alvarez for mayor, only to see Filner ousted by scandal and Alvarez lose to fellow City Council member Kevin Faulconer.
But don't look for her influence to wane with Faulconer's win. Even though Faulconer has been a critic of the Barrio Logan community plan, he's also championed the neighborhoods-first approach that's become vogue among San Diego politicians.
Takvorian embodies that kind of thinking.