San Diego, CA
United States
Olive Street Park San Diego AIDS Memorial since 1 December 2020
without names
Two decades ago, a much larger AIDS memorial was planned for the west side of Balboa Park. In 1994, the Living AIDS Garden had a budget of $303,000 in private funds. It cleared several layers of approval before the City Council eventually voted it down.

The project was killed because of infighting inside the local LGBT community, said Murray-Ramirez, who was a member of the original AIDS memorial task force behind the project. He had issues with the project when the scope and price tag increased. He said he couldn’t support spending so much money on a memorial when funds were still desperately needed for research and to support AIDS patients.“It came down to spending money on the memorial at that time or putting it into a food bank,” Murray-Ramirez said. “We were still trying to battle AIDS and serve people who had it, and I just knew there was no way we could spend that money on a memorial.” He ended up stepping down from the original task force. Others followed. Then several LGBT community activists actively campaigned against the memorial.

The chorus of AIDS memorial naysayers got amplified when conservative talk radio host and former San Diego mayor Roger Hedgecock told listeners to oppose the project. Landscape architect Glen Schmidt, whose firm won the AIDS memorial competition with a concept that included a sculpture made of dead oak tree trunks and a grove of living oak trees, said Hedgecock told people the project would be publicly funded, even though it wasn’t, and called it a waste of taxpayer dollars. “The City Council was bombarded with folks not wanting it to happen,” Schmidt said.

Images (c) Schmidt Design Group The Voice of San Diego

1 April 1994
Kinsey Morlan, San Diego, CA