Our Readers Write: La Jollans speak out about lack of parking, Hepatitis A, Rec Center plans, access to high school track and other local concerns

Our Readers Write / Opinion / Letters to the Editor:

Letters to the Editor from the Oct. 12 and 19, 2017 issues of La Jolla Light as La Jollans speak out on local issues:

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••• Somebody must tackle the lack-of-parking in the Village of La Jolla

I came through The Village around 2:30 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 7 to see cars lined up on La Jolla Village Drive all the way out to I-5. Two blocks of Girard Avenue were blocked off for the Art & Wine Festival with police directing traffic, so parking was eliminated on those two blocks. I thought, "Where are all those incoming cars going to park?"

As you know, I've written many times regarding the parking situation in La Jolla. It is almost nonexistent some days. I've pleaded for someone to come forth and donate/sell land or space for a parking garage. I guess no one wants to put their name on a parking garage.

We've been in business in La Jolla for 22 years at La Jolla Cove Gifts, 8008 Girard Ave. For some 20 years, there used to be 90 parking spaces just two doors down from us at 1020 Prospect St., now home to The Muse condominiums. There has been no parking at that location for the past two years. Elias and Tech, which ran the parking, used to have to double park cars in there when it was full!

My wife and I wanted to have brunch at Duke's and tried a few times to park nearby. Nothing was available at 10:30 Sunday morning. I finally pulled into the valet stand in front of George's. The attendant told me they were not open until 11 a.m. ... empty parking spaces just sitting there …We also tried to park and go to Hennessey's Tavern, but no parking was available. We ended up leaving The Village to find a place where we could park and have brunch.

We've rented two parking spaces in the Brook's Brothers building on Herschel Avenue for the past two years — but for our employees, not ourselves.

Over the years, we've had businesses in Santa Barbara. That city has parking garages on both sides of State (Main) street, plus the parking at the shopping center downtown. We also had four stores in Solvang and that city has five parking lots. Palm Springs has a big parking garage with meters and other parking lots. Evidently, the landlords in these towns were successful in obtaining parking for their tenants in their buildings.

Hopefully, the new group in The Village called MAD (Maintenance Assessment District), which promises to clean up The Village, will work on the parking situation, too. If our City Fathers think people are going to take the bus instead of their cars to come to La Jolla, they are NUTS! — Clair Thelin

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••• Hepatitis in La Jolla?

• As you know, San Diego is facing a Hepatitis A outbreak. Most of it is happening downtown, where homeless encampments tend to be concentrated. However, diseases spread, and with our buses transporting homeless people all over town, it's quite probable that it could spread to La Jolla.

Which brings me to my point. Earlier this morning (Oct. 12, 2017), I saw the homeless man, who frequents Pearl Street, drop his pants and defecate in the alley neat CVS. The sight of this was, to say the least, very troubling, for two reasons. First, it was unpleasant to see his buttocks exposed as I drove into the parking lot. And second, this strain of hepatitis is spread by fecal matter.

This homeless man may or may not be infected, but the fact that he might be is very concerning. There are a lot of children who pass in and out of this area, and therefore the City of San Diego should do its best to clean the spot where this man frequents and, yes, check him for any signs of carrying the virus. — Bill Smith

 

• There were two incidents I heard about last week where homeless persons defecated in public in La Jolla in broad daylight. The first occurred on Drury Lane and was videotaped by one of the construction workers at the old Burns Drugs property. The second occurred at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017 in front of a store on Girard Avenue. Police were called in both instances; both times the officers weren't very interested. They suggested we call Environmental Services, but those offices are closed on the weekend. I'm curious how long the pile of fecal matter will remain on the street.

As a business owner and resident, this is alarming. What's going to happen next? I appreciate any suggestions/support in resolving this matter. — Gerhard Bendl

 

Editor's Note: When these incidents were reported to Community Relations Police Officer Larry Hesselgesser of Northern Division, he responded: "Yes, these are infractions that would need to be witnessed by an officer in order to issue a citation."

Taking the issue to the County Health Department, we received this statement for publication:

"We recommend that these precautions be taken (when cleaning up human excrement):

• Any person handling feces or other bodily fluids should always wear gloves.

• Clean up visible debris using disposable absorbent material (paper towels or other type of disposal cloth) or with an instrument such as a shovel.

• Spray feces and soiled items with a disinfectant approved for Hepatitis A.

• Discard feces/soiled items carefully in an impervious plastic bag and discard in trash.

• Disinfect the area and any instruments used in the removal. Application of a disinfectant must be per the label requirements.

• Do NOT wash area with hose and allow water to go into storm drain.

• Gloves should be discarded in a plastic bag and placed into trash."

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••• Let's add parking garage to La Jolla Rec Center re-do plan

We in La Jolla and San Diego have so many resources we don't fully use that we should re-examine how they are used and how they might be better used. As an example, we are talking about a lack of parking in La Jolla, and we are also talking about re-doing the Recreation Center. Can we combine the two?

We have the land below the Rec Center that would be a great candidate for an underground car park. Could we put out a request for proposals for a car park to be built before the Rec Center is redone or in connection with it? I've seen this in Beverly Hills, with tennis courts over a surface level parking garage.

It may spur competition if say, a 25- to 50-year (under) ground lease for $1 per year were offered. The reason for the low lease rate is that the lease would have to include a stipulation to keep the parking fees low enough to encourage garage use, and perhaps, even require a shuttle to promote movement to and around The Village. Discount rates might be given for monthly passes, say for local employees to assure short-term street parking is more available for shoppers.

We should look well ahead of today. As time and development in La Jolla continues, we will need even more parking. — B.T. Collins

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••• Access-card system could be win/win for high school track

For years our community has had a trusting relationship with La Jolla High School. It led voters to support a property tax increase that paid for the renovation of the track and field. It led citizens and businesses to support LJHS Foundation events.

At the October 2017 Town Council meeting, the LJHS principal and his athletic director made their case for keeping the track closed to residents. All kinds of issues were raised from dog poop to homeless people. The good news is that the remodeled track is so walled-in that these apocalyptic fears appear foolish.

I, and others, have tried to collaborate with the principal for over a year. We've offered to create an access-card system (requiring no school administrative work), but the school insists on hiring a "watcher" who will cost over $25,000 a year. (Note that the tennis courts, which remain open to the public, do not require a watcher.)

Why not have us sign up to use the track and tennis courts — without paid watchers — and with this sign up, offer community members an opportunity to mentor and tutor students and create internships for students at our businesses. This arrangement would be a win-win for all. If the LJHS Foundation managed the card sign-up, it could offer an option to make a donation to the Foundation, which I suspect would raise considerable funds from families without a current high school student.

The principal's position reflects a belief that the school's relationship with the community is one-sided; it's a shortsighted view that CEOs around the country have discovered. The community just raised $130,000 for our schools through the Arts & Wine Festival. The role of a leader of any organization — public, private, for-profit or non-profit — includes creating winning community relationships because good relationships build thriving institutions. — Kay Plantes

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••• La Jolla's parks should be kept public — period

La Jolla's public parks should all be kept PUBLIC. The parks should never have pay-to-enter events. The purpose of the parks is not to raise money for the "merchants" or for "good charitable causes" or even the City.

The La Jolla Park & Beaches committee (LJP&B) should avoid placing itself in a position of judging which organizations can use the public park to the exclusion of the public. If the LJP&B committee does not adopt an absolute no-rent policy, they will have to judge which charities or organizations get use of the park for fundraising and which do not. Such an action will eventually lead to lawsuits and other troubles, and a string of headaches for the LJP&B committee. Events such as weddings, which pay a fee to the City, are different. They do not exclude the public; they tend to be much smaller, and they do not make money from use of the public facility.

Concerts and other activities that are free and open to the public should be allowed, but possibly limited. The selection and scheduling (limiting) of these public events are the responsibility of the LJP&B committee.

Keep our beautiful public parks PUBLIC. — David Little

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••• La Jolla sure has a lot of advisory boards

Regarding "Alphabet Soup," the list of La Jolla organizations in the Oct. 5, 2017 La Jolla Light issue: Now we are 14 to govern La Jolla (in reality a neighborhood of San Diego) and the even smaller subdivisions of La Jolla — Bird Rock and La Jolla Shores. Many of these organizations seem to have duplicate and overlapping duties. No matter, it gives more people the opportunity to feel important and be big frogs in small ponds. And so it goes: more important people, more organizations, more meetings — but more trash on the streets, less and less parking, more high-end condos, more empty outrageously priced stores, larger potholes and cracks in the streets and sidewalks. Situation: Normal! — IB

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••• Centenarian count will shake up Social Security

I read the article in the Oct. 5, 2017 La Jolla Light issue about Norman Smith and his reaching 100 years old. That's really wonderful. In that article there was a statistic stating that 22 percent of Americans are reaching the age of 100. As a statistician, I find this almost impossible to believe. Are you sure it isn't 2.2 percent? I'm hoping for the misplacement of a decimal point. If the 22 percent figure is, in fact, correct, our nation is approaching a crisis in health care, as well as in Social Security and other areas related to greater longevity. — Alan Feddersen

 

Editor's Note: Your statistician career has served you (and us) well, but it's not even 2.2 percent, the actual figure is .022 percent. We are enrolling reporter Corey Levitan in a basic math class. Thanks for setting us straight.

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••• Children's Pool Lifeguard Tower cost how much?

I was shocked when I saw that the cost of the Children's Pool Lifeguard Tower was $43 million in the article on page A3 in the Sept. 28, 2017 La Jolla Light. I'm wondering if the Light made a mistake and left out the decimal point in the $43 million — and that should have been $4.3 million? Am I the only person who noticed this? Maybe there will be a correction in the Oct. 12 issue. — Linda Pequegnat

 

Editor's Note: You are correct! Never underestimate the value of a decimal point! The Children's Pool Lifeguard Tower price tag: $4.3 million.

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••• I lived in one of La Jolla's 'Munchkin' houses

In regard to the article about the "Munchkin" houses in the Oct. 5, 2017 La Jolla Light issue … actually my uncle, James Scranton Trevor bought the top two Cliff May houses — 7447 and 7455 Hillside Drive — in 1935. He had moved with his wife, Helen, to La Jolla from Detroit after retiring from the family lumber business. They fell in love with the Cliff May designs. He bought a number of others over the years.

My father, Walter M. Trevor, contracted tuberculosis in 1939 and the finest facilities to handle that disease were then in San Diego. My father was sent out to a sanitarium located in Mission Hills. James and Helen were living in one of the houses and were having fun decorating and furnishing both. (James was enchanted with Southwestern furniture and was constructing it as a hobby.)

They were living in one of the houses and so when my parents moved out, we moved into 7455. I grew up there, but my parents sold it after I married in 1957 as they wanted a larger home.

My aunt, Dorothy Trevor, also contracted tuberculosis. She was sent to Santa Fe to recuperate, but moved to La Jolla about the same time we did. She moved into 7447 and lived there until her death in 1993. Sadly, I sold that house in 1999 and it was subsequently torn down. Since Helen and Jimmy were now without a home, they brought a couple of other Cliff May houses in the Presidio Park area of San Diego.

In the late 1940s, someone wrote a spoof for the La Jolla Light (around Halloween) about munchkin houses in La Jolla. There were fables about the munchkins of the "Wizard of Oz," and also tales of happy little people dancing in the canyons at night. I suspect my Aunt Dorothy added to the myth because due to her tuberculosis (of the spine) she was only 4-feet, 11-inches tall when she lived there. People would stop, and because she loved her home, she always invited them in. (Sadly she was robbed once because of it.)

I've had people who meet me, and know where I lived as a child, say how thrilled my parents must have been to have me. I assure them, my father was over 6-feet-tall and my mother was tall for her generation.

Anyway, I just couldn't resist reminding you. The road ended after 7447 in those days, so I had that little bit of paradise all to myself growing up. (And being an only child, my imaginary friend, Irmatrude, lived in the grate just above the remaining house. I haven't needed her for a while!) — Jane Fetter

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••• Seeing lifeguard story made my 'birth'day

What fun to see the little story from 1946, which I wrote about my days as a Junior Lifeguard, printed in the Oct. 5, 2017 La Jolla Light. I receive it as a birthday present because that day I turned 89 and am feeling fine! Warm best wishes to you and your staff. — Ken Haygood

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••• Restrict short-term rentals to commercial districts

Two opposing concepts envelop the Short Term Vacation Rental (STVR) debate: 1) home and 2) marketplace. Home suggests shelter, a place of protection, refuge from the hurly-burly outside. The marketplace is for buying and selling, competition, profit. We enjoy our homes as a haven from pursuits based on money. The ability to relax, let down your guard, express feelings openly is a quality-of-life value.

The public servants who developed and approved San Diego's zoning laws recognized the quality-of-life benefits in having a shelter, a living space apart from the City's commercial demands. They separated land usage into residential and commercial zones and surrounded residential dwelling units — places to live — with protections, which they embodied in the City municipal code. They honored a hierarchy of values in which home supersedes the pursuit of profit.

And "home" is not reserved to RS (single-family) neighborhoods. My RM-zoned condominium is my home and is as severely impacted by STVRs as any residential block in the City. Half of the 22 units in the complex are short-term rentals. The (havoc) caused by this commercial activity is exactly what the writers of the Municipal Code anticipated when they prohibited visitor accommodations in residential zones.

City Council members who renounce the promise made to citizens by the current Municipal Code (they will vote on the STVR issue in Chambers, Oct. 23) accept the pursuit of profit as a higher value than the peaceful enjoyment of one's home. Does that make our citizens proud? — Rosalie Schwartz, Pacific Beach

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••• CORRECTIONS:

• The News Nuggets story in the Oct. 5 La Jolla Light issue, "Art bus headed for Los Angeles, sign-ups needed," contained an error. The art bus is headed for the Getty Museum to see the Golden Kingdoms art exhibit, part of the multi-institution Pacific Standard Time collaborative exhibition.

• A photo caption from the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival coverage in the Oct. 11, 2017 La Jolla Light issue misidentified La Jolla Library volunteer Orest Wontorsky, who was shown demonstrating a 3D printing machine.

• Two photo captions supplied for the Salk Institute's Women & Science Design and Discovery Fashion Showcase, featured in the Oct. 11, 2017 La Jolla Light issue, misidentified the participants. We are reprinting the corrected captions and photos below.

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••• What's on YOUR mind?

Letters published in La Jolla Light express views from readers in regard to community issues. To share your thoughts in this public forum, e-mail them with your name and city of residence to editor@lajollalight.com or mail them to La Jolla Light Editor, 565 Pearl St., Suite 300, La Jolla, CA 92037. Letters reflect the writers' opinions and not necessarily those of the newspaper staff or publisher.

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