In a season dedicated to good will among all men, the unnecessary controversy over the Nativity scenes in Balboa Park seemed to accomplish little besides sacrificing good will between San Diego's Christians and Jews.
First, the city attorney's office said that this will be the last year for the life-size Nativity scenes in Balboa Park because they violate the First Amendment. The next day, after scores of phone calls to City Hall, the city attorney said the creche does not necessarily violate the Constitution.
The decision to ban the eight scenes depicting the birth and life of Jesus Christ was prompted by an inquiry from the Jewish Community Relations Council. The council said it didn't ask for the Nativity figures to be taken down, but that it thought having the Christian symbols on city property violated the separation of church and state.
Apparently, the city attorney agreed and issued a preliminary opinion without consulting the mayor, who said she was outraged by the ruling.