I was looking for the web site for San Diego Air Show and came across this on Pacific Flyers web site. Anyone heard anything else about this? Damn!!!
It was a grand idea, but the first San Diego Air & Water show scheduled for April 17-18 (PF, Jan. '04) has been cancelled.
"We could not make headway with Coronado," explained Rudy Malnati of Chicago, director of the event. "I've been out threre probably two weeks of each month for the last three months trying to get it corrected, but Coronado's concerned about the traffic issues, that's their main concern, plus the police of course."
The USAF Thunderbirds were to be the featured attraction for the show, set to be staged off Coronado Island's Silver Strand State Beach.
The two-day event was scheduled to feature a variety of military and top civilian airshow acts, including the U.S. Navy's Leapfrogs.
Malnati said he had received assurances from the city of Coronado, located on a peninsula across the bay from San Diego, they the show would be approved. San Diego and the city of Imperial Beach were enthusiastic about it, he said.
"When we first were talking (with Coronado) it was pretty much suggested just put your paperwork in and we'll see where it goes," he said in a telephone interview from the in the Chicago Mayor's office. "It was indicated to us that it would probably work.
"We Also looked at putting a lot of it in Imperial Beach ... and Imperial Beach really needs the income, too. The park district signed the application so there was interest there."
Unfortunately, as he found out, some residents of Coronado are "pretty powerful" and they were opposed to 200,000 people coming to the city.
Home to many retired admirals and the location of the famed Hotel Del Coronado, the small city is at once a tourist mecca and an insular enclave for the wealthy. Although North Island Naval Air Station is located there, base workers rarely live in the area because of the extraordinarily high home prices.
Malnati, whose family owns a chain of Italian restaurants in the Chicago area, said he has given up hope for an event this year.
"It would have been a beautiful show; hopefully we can make them bend a little bit and maybe with some good mail from other people to the Coronado people we can make it work (in the future)."
Asked from where the sudden opposition arose, Malnati said he thought it came from the mayor's office.
"Not the mayor himself but from his office, more the city manager. I think the main thing they were concerned about was the people heading for that beach and how they would get there.
"We had a traffic plan showing them coming from the south (via Imperial Beach)."
Malnati said he thought, however, that it wasn't a decision by a politician but opposition by residents.
"I think they're voicing the people's opinion, I don't think they would have made that decision on their own," he said.
Malnati said he hasn't given up either on Coronado or perhaps some other venue in San Diego County with beachfront access.
As for the Thunderbirds, one source close to the team said they had already rescheduled that weekend for a show in Muskogee, Okla., although that could not be confirmed by our press deadline.
Malnati, the 46-year-old promoter who also stages the annual Chicago Air and Water Show, had said last month that a major news conference would be held in San Diego in January announcing the event and vendors contacted Pacific Flyer anxious to find out more details.
Then we heard from a Thunderbird source that they had been rescheduled.
Malnati said the decision was made the third week in January to call the whole thing off.
The Thunderbirds were to be based out of North Island Naval Air Station. The civilian acts would have been located at Brown Field, adjacent to the Mexican border, with all flying to take place over the Pacific in clear view of everyone along Coronado's southwest-facing Silver Strand.
Malnati said he would be anxious to talk to any city leaders with beachfront access about staging the show.
"We have the money and we're ready to go," he said.