Tuesday, August 14 2012 7:03 PM EDT2012-08-14 23:03:27 GMT
San Diego mayoral candidates, Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, and City Councilman Carl DeMaio faced off Tuesday on topics ranging from pension reform to the city's homelessMore >>
San Diego mayoral candidates, Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, and City Councilman Carl DeMaio faced off Tuesday on topics ranging from pension reform to the city's homeless, although recent vandalism to Balboa Park's lily pond was a hot topic during the debate.More >>
Monday, August 13 2012 10:35 PM EDT2012-08-14 02:35:47 GMT
The furor over damage to the lily pond at Balboa Park at a weekend water fight took center stage in the race for mayor of San Diego MondayMore >>
The furor over damage to the lily pond at Balboa Park at a weekend water fight took center stage in the race for mayor of San Diego Monday when one of the candidates, Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, accused the gay partner of his opponent, Councilman Carl DeMaio, of helping to promote the event.More >>
Monday, August 13 2012 9:48 PM EDT2012-08-14 01:48:41 GMT
Authorities sought Monday to determine who organized a mass water-gun party that caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to a 97-year-old Balboa Park lily pondMore >>
Authorities sought Monday to determine who organized a mass water-gun party that caused thousands of dollars worth of damage to a 97-year-old Balboa Park lily pond, one of the city's most recognizable landmarks.More >>
SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - What was supposed to be a fun celebration in Balboa Park this past weekend turned into a situation that got way out of control. News 8 spoke exclusively with one of the party's organizers.
Matthew Hardick tells us he has reached out to police to take responsibility for the event, and is extremely heartsick and apologetic about the party that trashed the lily pond.
"I'm devastated and I'm so remorseful for what happened, and to all the people this has affected and angered, and that's why I'm here," Hardick said.
As one of the nine organizers of the 2nd annual Midnight Water Gun Fight at Balboa Park, Hardick says he wants to take responsibility for what happened and make restitution to restore the pond to its original beauty.
"I'm so sorry to the people of San Diego, to the Parks and Rec people for having to do all that work to have to clean that up," he said.
He says he sent out an invitation to his 800-plus Facebook friends about a month ago for the event, which was created last year with the best of intentions.
"I'm in the recovery community so I'm always looking to build and develop safe, clean sober fun so people don't have to go to bars and nightclubs… bringing a sense of what it was like when we were kids," he said.
Hardick says about 20 people attended last year, but this year through social media, the crowd grew to more than 1,000. He says he was shocked and thrilled by the turnout.
"The whole night and the spirit of the event was laughter and joy," he said. "Then people started getting pushed in the pond and it escalated."
Hardick and other organizers started telling people to get out of the pond, but the party had taken on a life of its own. Not knowing what else to do, Hardick took video of the scene to at least document what was happening.
"I couldn't believe it. Nobody had gone in there to smash any of those lily boxes. I personally didn't even know there was koi fish in there, or turtles. I thought it was a reflecting pool," he said.
For the record, Hardick says there were no public officials at the event.
"This has nothing to do with Carl DeMaio, this has nothing to do with Johnathan Hale, it has nothing to do with Todd Gloria. This is just a bunch of people that wanted to go have clean, safe, sober fun with other neighbors, friends, community members, and it got out of control," he said.
Hardick says the event did show up on a website run by Johnathan Hale, who is DeMaio's partner, but only because one of the website's reporters who had been invited to the event, posted it as an "out and about" thing to do on a Saturday night.