Town Council's stand on stanchions rebukes planners' vote

At its monthly meeting on Jan. 11, La Jolla Town Council issued a stern rebuke to the La Jolla Community Planning Association for voting last month to remove the stanchions (aka bollards) at the foot of Playa del Norte in WindanSea.

The stanchions were installed last March to curb illegal activity. (See “Bird Rockers seek to restore beach access at Bandera St.”)

The Town Council passed two actions: 1) to pull Agenda Item 12.0, regarding bollards, from the CPA consent agenda, while ratifying all other items; and 2) to recommend that the bollards remain in place. Both motions passed unanimously, except that Town Council member John Shannon — who is also a LJCPA trustee — abstained from the second vote. “I didn’t have all this information,” Shannon said. “I realize I need more information on this, because this is very interesting.”

The vote was taken after an impassioned presentation by Cynthia Chasan, co-chair of the La Jolla Town Council Crime Watch Committee and a representative for the San Diego Police Department Northern Division Captain’s Advisory Board, who explained that the area in question is used as a hangout for teens and young adults who gather and loiter from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. and function as a street gang.

Chasan explained that, when the president of the Barber Tract Neighborhood Association attempted to confront the trespassers, they took a photo of him and posted it to the NextDoor social-media app, claiming he was a child abductor. This “led to a group of La Jolla moms forming a posse that drove around La Jolla looking for this man to report him to police,” Chasan said. (According to Chasan, the 60 seconds she was allotted to present at LJCPA precluded the body from hearing this information before voting.)

Town Council president Ann Kerr Bache explained the rebuke: “Normally, the groups vote, and if it’s a unanimous vote, the LJCPA acts as a responsible shepherd and passes it on. Now, Town Council has the singular authority to hold up anything on the LJCPA agenda, which includes all the standing committees. We normally try not to do that … However, in this case, it is an unfair, unprecedented impact — particularly since Northern Division has brought this to our attention.

“There are two aspects to it,” Kerr Bache continued. “There’s the issue itself, but there’s the precedent, which is the authority of LJCPA over standing committees that have their own authority. For example, Traffic & Transportation reviews all the special events permits — like for Rough Water Swim. Right after their meeting, they notify San Diego Special Events that they approve it. So it’s approved. There’s nothing anyone can do. It’s really a procedural thing.”

After the meeting, Kerr Bache emailed a letter to City senior traffic engineer Gary Pence, notifying him of the vote.

Public schools update

Also at the meeting, a forum was held during which updates were provided on the state of San Diego public education, including presentations by SD Unified School Board president Kevin Beiser, and La Jolla principals Chuck Podhorsky (La Jolla High), Harlan Klein (Muirlands Middle), Donna Tripi (La Jolla Elementary) and Sarah Ott (Torrey Pines Elementary).

Without touching upon controversial topics, such as the La Jolla High track, the principals outlined their schools’ mission statements and talked up new programs and successful established ones. For instance, Podhorsky said that 2018 is the first year his students will leave school to hold science internships in the community, with industry partners, as part of a new biomedical pathway program. “We’re pretty excited about that,” said Podhorsky, who shared what he described as “kind of a joke” conceived because La Jolla High students achieve so much more than students of other San Diego high schools: “the core are our electives.” He elaborated: “While we do have quite a robust electives program, students are taking college mid-level math courses and four years of science, which is an amazing thing.”

Tripi reported success with her latest class, transitional kindergarten — which the state mandated when it pushed back the enrollment date from Sept. 2 to Dec. 2 this year — and praised the school district for providing, for the first time, a full music program for the fourth and fifth grade, which allows all students to participate in string, bands or chorus.

Following the forum, Beiser broke the news that the U.S. Navy has plans to bring 10,000 additional sailors to San Diego, which will create many new jobs but also place pressure on housing and infrastructure.Town Council next meets at 5:30 p.m. Thu., Feb 8 at the La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Propsect St.

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