and what exactly is the theme of a boardwalk suppose to be?
all you have to do is research historical data on old california boardwalks and find out that they were full of eclectic themes.
You seem to take the overall park theme to literally. Not everything in the park has to somehow be exclusively California based.
The lands and architecture within the park should always be California themed the biggest mistake was done by Cynthia Harris when she and a few WDI decided that "BUGSLAND" was suppose to be the prominent name of the land while making the farm area a sub district of the land. The bountifull valley name should have been preserved since the agriculture aspect of the land linked it perfectly to California. The planters and landscape should have stayed as is. FFF and the bugs attraction should have been the sub districts of the land.
Other than that the lands still maintain their identity and attractions should fit within that element.
Paradise Pier should be able to follow the eclectic and choatic feel of the many seaside piers that dotted California. Not only with its victorian architecture but its many other forms of architecture that for some reason seemed to work for the same reason that seaside piers had no uniformity. It was not unusual to see a house of mirrors next to a victorian carousel as well as wooden coasters next to first generation spinners.
that my friend is not the ability of being cheap or not being able to hold a theme. If the pier had too much uniformity then that would be the cheap way of not following the real aspects of how the old famous seaside piers and their midways looked like.
Paradise pier as is lacked because a concept was only pushed to some extent. Eventhen if peole did some research they would find many similiarities to several of the old piers.
Lamposts were specifically researched and built for the pier. the wooden areas of the pier actually use the samekind of wood that was used in those ealry midways. There are several elemnts that were extensively researched then at some point that care died and the buildings suffered from what they should have been and a few attractions were improperly themed (orange stinger is the most prominent)