La Jolla Parks & Beaches committee hopes to curb peddlers
By Ashley Mackin
The La Jolla Parks and Beaches advisory committee (LJP&B) wants to crack down on the increasing number of merchandise peddlers at Scripps Park and Children’s Pool beach.
At the June 3 meeting, LJP&B Chair Dan Allen said in other areas of California, vendors take the stance that their T-shirts are art and get away with operating without a license because art is considered “free speech” protected by the First Amendment.
“It looks like somebody is chiseling away at the restrictions we have on commercial use of public parks,” he said.
Audience member William Robbins cited the San Diego municipal code, which defines the area of non-soliciting in La Jolla to be “public parks, beaches or beach areas” and “areas restricted by the San Diego municipal code (which is) the territory lying westerly of the easterly line of Prospect Street, between the northerly line of Cave Street and the southerly line of Cuvier Street,”
“So basically, from the Cave Store to the Wedding Bowl and all the way up to Prospect Street is a non- soliciting area in San Diego,” Robbins said.
LJP&B member Debbie Beacham said enforcing the code is difficult because “the city doesn’t want to take on anyone who is going to try and trump them with a First Amendment lawsuit, so they’d rather not enforce the municipal code.”
Further complicating enforcement, some noted, is that some vendors have operated with expired licenses and/or applied with fake addresses.
LJP&B member Jane Reldan said she asked to see one vendor’s license and found it had been expired for a few days. Robbins said he asked to see another vendor’s license, and the address listed was that of the water meter for the Athletic Club.
There are three spots in Scripps Park (and two at the Children’s Pool) where selling items are legal. Those are awarded via a lottery.
Beacham suggested that a solution to the problem would be to designate an area where vendors could sell items and exercise their right to free speech.
“If we, as La Jollans, ask the city for that, we could probably keep vendors all in one area and they wouldn’t clutter the parks and beaches,” she said, adding, La Jollans could ask that the municipal code be rewritten to reflect the new area, which would be First Amendment-compliant and easily regulated.
The LJP&B committee decided to request a presentation from the city and a police officer to get official insight on the situation.
Officer Cindy Meyer will address the subject at the La Jolla Shores Association meeting, 6:30 p.m. June 12 at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography, house T-29.
In other LJP&B news:
■ Children’s Pool Walkway Beautification: LJP&B President Patrick Ahern tested a slideshow on the committee, which he plans to present to community groups, like Rotary and Kiwanis, to seek donations for the Children’s Pool Walkway Beautification project, which is expected to cost $250,000 if completed along with the lifeguard tower construction. Ahern said the cost would double if constructed independently.
Comparing the area to an un-landscaped home, Ahern said, “There is no front yard, there is no landscape, no sidewalk, there is nothing in front of this … and that is basically what is going to be happening to the Children’s Pool.”
Ahern offered several arguments for large, quick donations, including possible naming rights, if a donation is substantial.
Ahern reported that in 2012, there were 124 medical aid calls made in La Jolla — many from people tripping on the crumbling sidewalk at the Children’s Pool. He cited several groups in favor of the project, including LJP&B, the Community Planning Association, the lifeguards, the Department of Park and Recreation, the City Council and Mayor Bob Filner.
Ahern said the cost would double if the project must be done separately from the upcoming lifeguard tower construction because bids would have to be resubmitted and contractors would have to come back to the site. But if the sidewalk beautification project were done in connection with the tower demolition, that area would be already considered a construction site. To date, the Beautification Project has raised approximately $8,000 with donations coming in regularly and grant proposals being considered. Those wanting to donate can visit lajollaparksandbeaches.org or mail a check made out to La Jolla Parks and Beaches to La Jolla Parks & Beaches, Inc, P.O. Box 185, La Jolla CA 92038
■ Vegetation at Goldfish Point: Allen said the plan set in motion last year to relocate the gates at Goldfish Point to limit pedestrian access to the bluffs, protect the plants there, and control erosion was being redesigned. Because it alters beach access, the plan had to go through community planning groups, which supplied the opportunity for people to reject it, Allen said.
The new plan does not call for the gates to be moved, simply re-vegetating the area with native plants to help control erosion.
■ Next meeting: LJP&B committee will meet 4 p.m. June 24 at the La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect St.
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- La Jolla surveyor says property markers are being inadvertently destroyed by city
- No climbing signs there for the Scripps Park trees
- New parks and beaches group redefining mission
- Corky’s Corner: The tale of ‘Pink Bod’ lives on
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