When it came to bucking a plan to remove cars from Plaza de Panama in Balboa Park last year, Bruce Coons was up against many of the city's biggest players. That would include then Mayor Jerry Sanders, the majority of the city council and one of the richest men in San Diego, Irwin Jacobs, the co-founder of Qualcomm.
It wasn't David versus Goliath. It was David versus Goliath and Goliath and Goliath.
But out came the slingshot. The lawsuit filed by Save Our Heritage Organisation, led by Coons, successfully killed the Jacobs' plan, which, among other features, called for a bypass road to be built at the east end of the Cabrillo Bridge.
Coons thought the project was too invasive and, hence, got into the fray.
His interests, though, go beyond preservation. First, he took a quick stab at politics by announcing a run for mayor, but he withdrew and backed David Alvarez, who eventually lost to fellow City Councilman Kevin Faulconer.
Now, Coons is seeking to become a City Council member — at least for a brief time. He's one of 19 candidates seeking to be named to the District 2 seat that used to be held by Faulconer. In April, the Council will vote as to who will hold the seat until an election decides the matter and the new council member is sworn in in December. (The 19 vying to hold the seat agreed not to run.)
Coons is also looking to start grassroots political efforts. He has plans to create a Neighborhood Partnership PAC which aims to magnify the voices of ordinary citizens and drive them into the political process.
A mechanism needs to be in place to offset the power of lobbyists and special interest groups that have used their clout to turn elections at the expense of quality-of-life issues, Coons said.
"I believe it can be very effective and influential by raising funds that can be used to support the candidates who truly represent the residents and to oppose those who do not,” he said.