Horton Plaza Bandits

I was robbed at Horton Plaza last night.

No, not by a knife-wielding mugger.

Not by a street person or a bag lady.

Not by a desperate drug addict.


Those might have been the culprits at 4th and Broadway a year or two ago, but now we’ve entered a new age. Progress has come to San Diego’s downtown. Now the crooks wear uniforms and use computers for their weapons.

I was robbed of $5 by the progress-minded people who run Ace Parking Inc.--quite a price tag for the pleasure of a 90-minute stroll in the new Horton Plaza shopping center.

A 45-minute “validation” turned out to be worthless because I had been at the Plaza for more than exactly 45 minutes. Nothing short of a $7 purchase from one of the stores inside would have brought me any break in the outrageous $1-per-half-hour parking fee. Even the 90-minute validation I would have been given for making that $7 purchase would have been worthless--presumably--since I was at the Plaza slightly more than the allotted hour and a half.

The irony is that I came to the Plaza fully prepared to spend --at a favorite store scheduled to open on Sept. 11--which was still under construction last night, its opening delayed one week.


The message from Hahn Inc. and Ace Parking is clear: Non-buyer beware. Don’t come to the Plaza unless you are ready and able to pay through the nose for the privilege. It’s a shame.

In conclusion: Next time I want to shop, I’ll visit a mall that doesn’t charge a cent for parking, like Mission Valley or Fashion Valley. Or patronize the same “exclusive” shops the Horton Plaza boasts, in the less hostile environs of La Jolla, and shell out my quarters to an honest meter.

And next time I want to pay admission to visit an amusement park, I’ll skip Horton Plaza Land--there aren’t even any roller coasters!


San Diego