Sullivan on Torrey Pines

The San Diego Union Tribune's Tim Sullivan looks at the snowballing situation at Torrey Pines, where the mayor is now joining the fight over course access and a new clubhouse.

“I would support a recall of the mayor,” Paul Spiegelman said yesterday. “I'm really troubled when a man talks about sunshine and hatches deals in back rooms. I'm very concerned that the process is being manipulated by some very wealthy people.”

Spiegelman, co-founder of the 1,200-member San Diego Municipal Golfers Alliance, says anyone who supports the five-year city golf plan Sanders put forward last week is “betraying the public.” He said his organization is considering recall petitions and weighing whether to request that the United States Golf Association revoke the 2008 U.S. Open from Torrey Pines South.

All this over tee times and greens fees and the machinations of millionaires. Torrey Pines might be the city's prettiest place, but it is also a political mine field.


Figuratively, at least, Torrey Pines is a spot that has long suffered from political neglect. Contracts have been signed in clear violation of legal settlements and, arguably, the city charter. Private interests have persistently encroached on public land. Plans have been formulated by a privileged few and implemented over the objections of the Average Joe. Cynicism runs rampant.

Among some of Torrey Pines' most frequent players, Sanders' plan is consistent with a pattern in which the little guy keeps getting squeezed for the sake of a grandiose vision advantageous for the adjoining hotels and the Century Club. Those interests, in turn, question the entitlement of entities such as the Torrey Pines Men's and Women's Clubs and, specifically, of Spiegelman, who averages almost three rounds per week.