Can’t we do better than stained sidewalks and soiled trash cans?
In 2015, we purchased a condominium on Coast Boulevard thinking La Jolla was a well-kept area with a reputation for being upscale. After spending the last two summers here, it’s been a real eye-opener to see the lack of maintenance, much less cleanliness, in a town called “The Jewel.” It’s surprising to watch its deteriorating condition, comparing it to what La Jolla was a few years ago.
The sidewalks are very dirty and the town is loaded with unsightly trash receptacles. As evidence, I’ve included many photos of familiar sights around La Jolla. No wonder there are empty retail spaces in the Village, considering the lack of appeal along the streets! Are there any ideas for addressing this problem? Who could I contact who could actually do something about this “neglect”?
Editor’s Note: In November 2016, a Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) was established for The Village to be administered by Enhance La Jolla. This 501 (c)(3) group will receive funds generated through property owner assessments and use them for ongoing efforts to enhance the community, including landscape maintenance, street and sidewalk cleaning, litter and graffiti abatement, and additional trash collection. Enhance La Jolla will be responsible for preparing the annual draft budget, retaining contractors, and overseeing and administering the maintenance services. Property owner assessments will begin being collected in late 2017 and MAD services will begin in January 2018.
For more information on the people and projects behind this effort, visit enhancelajolla.org
Here’s a 5-point plan for ‘fixing’ La Jolla
Our family has been visiting La Jolla for nearly 20 years now. We’ve spent our summers and early falls here, with periodic “off-season” visits. La Jolla has been one of our favorite destinations. Unfortunately, we have observed the continuing and escalating decline of public and residence maintenance. Additionally, the public roads, including those with the highest volume of vehicles, have deteriorated to the point that personal safety is at risk.
Here is a sampling of concerns that we offer to the City Council for consideration:
1) In far too many instances, vehicles are permitted to park right up to the corner of a street, placing drivers who are turning onto a major road, e.g. La Jolla Boulevard, in distress. Side roads near WindanSea that intersect with La Jolla Boulevard have highly obstructed vision when turning onto the boulevard. Visit a street like Kolmar to get an “on the ground” assessment of the danger.
2) Returning to WindanSea, the major ocean-side road, Neptune Place, requires long-needed attention. There are no Speed Limit signs along Neptune, beginning at Palomar Avenue and extending both to the end of Neptune. As a result, far too many cars are being driven at very dangerous speeds. Speed Limit signs and/or Drive Slowly signs are desperately needed on Neptune since it’s a high-density traffic area with narrow roads and plenty of pedestrians.
3) Trash collection in the old downtown, the “high-end” downtown, and Bird Rock needs to be stepped up. Check out the planters filled with trash in front of the closed (for two years) Sushi/Oyster restaurant on the west side of La Jolla Boulevard just as you enter Bird Rock. Each time I pass the restaurant (3-4 times per week), the planters/trash containers are overflowing with garbage.
4) Public and residential landscaping are far too often unsightly and in need of attention. Some homes, even in so called “upscale” areas of La Jolla, display dead and/or overgrown trees and plants, while others seem as if they’ve not received any attention what so ever. Perhaps a City code requiring landscape maintenance and yard clean-up should be considered by the City Council. This has worked very well in other cities.
5) Many of La Jolla’s streets and sidewalks are in dire need of re-paving and re-lining. Also, the curbs in many areas need to be re-painted (red, green, blue, etc.) The red paint on the WindenSea beach-side curb is barely visible.
These observations are offered in the spirit of cooperation, improvement and with an appreciation of budgetary concerns.
Let’s bridge Scenic Drive North and South
I agree completely with Jane Dyson in her letter last week concerning completing the bridge connecting the two Scenics. I’ve been here for 35 years and have been a member of the La Jolla Town Council and have heard the “old timers” say they worked to limit traffic in La Jolla including preventing egress from I-5 south (what an inconvenience). The houses that overlook La Jolla Parkway are so far above the road that a bridge would not block their views. It’s time to do it.
La Jolla’s murals enrich the community
Referring to the letter in last week’s issue about the public art in La Jolla, I would like to forward related comments from California Today and The New York Times:
California has been enjoying something of a public mural boom. Over the last five years, Los Angeles, Santa Monica and Sacramento, among other cities, have each transformed dozens of formerly drab outdoor walls with colorful artworks.
Evan Meyer, the founder of Beautify Earth, a nonprofit that promotes public murals, attributed the movement in part to a growing appreciation for murals as an antidote to blight. Public art, he said, represents a win not just for the artist and the community, but also for the property owner that provides the canvas. “It’s being recognized as something that can drive increased foot traffic,” Meyer said. “Because it’s not just a box anymore. It’s like, ‘Hey, we’re the building with the pelican on it.’ ”
This month, the historic Warner Grand Theater in San Pedro added a playful scene depicting underwater musicians to one of its exterior walls. The artist, Kent Yoshimura, said he was fascinated by the idea that, in contrast to a gallery setting, countless passers-by would encounter the mural. At 111-feet by 55-feet, it can be seen from several blocks away. “There is so much beauty in that open communication and that open relationship that artists can have with the public,” Yoshimura said. “I think it’s just fantastic.”
I have taken The Murals of La Jolla tour offered by The Athenaeum and I think these murals have contributed to our community. It helps to have someone interpret any work of art and I suggest La Jolla Light readers take the tour.
Editor’s Note: Mural tours are offered the last Wednesday of each month. The next one begins at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 27 from The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 1008 Wall St. The tour is free, but reservations are requested at (858) 454-5872.
Some ‘unfit’ murals need to be replaced
I heartily endorse the sentiments contained in Diann Morgan’s letter to La Jolla Light (Aug. 24), regarding the three “unfit” murals painted on various walls in downtown La Jolla — “Blah, Blah, Blah,” “Sexy Cash,” (graffiti indeed!) and “Expecting to Fly.”
It is time to replace these distasteful murals with something more in keeping with our charming Village.
Sarah Susan Forster
Support needed for Barbara Bry’s vacation rental proposal
Last week, a three-day-long bachelor party raged at the house next door. The very next day four families, each with children, held a reunion in the same home for two days. Such short-term rentals have been going on non-stop at a house in the Country Club area for since June.
Trash bins overflow in the street, police are called when parties spill into the neighborhood at 3 a.m. (with no response until 7 a.m., if at all), illegal parking blocks ambulances and residents alike.
The City Attorney has declared short-term rentals to be illegal in single-family residential zones, but there is no enforcement by the City. The police have a Community Assisted Party Program (CAPP) for such properties, but under a new interpretation of the program it is nearly impossible to get this designation assigned. (Note: CAPP identifies locations that host loud and disturbing parties on a chronic basis.)
We have owned our home for more than 40 years never thinking we would want to sell until investors from Northern California started operating an AirBnB mini-hotel next door. This could happen on any street in La Jolla. City Council member Barbara Bry’s plan to limit short-term whole-house rentals in the City to minimum 30-day stays is a reasonable step to restrict the destruction of traditional neighborhoods La Jolla.
We live across the street from the house Scott Pidd refers to in his letter (which he shared with me). He provides an excellent description of the situation we have been dealing with for the past four months. I would only add that on average there are 150-200 different people staying in this house every month. But according to the City of San Diego, the owner of the property is not in violation of any City ordinance.
We support City Council member Barbara Bry’s proposed short-term vacation rental ordinance. The proposals of other Council members, such as Council member Chris Cate, do not begin to address all the issues involved with this ugly situation.
LJHS track should be shared with community
I would like to know why La Jolla High School has kept the track and field closed to the public? First, Principal Charles Podhorsky said it was because taxpayer money wasn’t used to fund refurbishment of the track, then he said it was litter and general misuse of the facilities. Next he said the public was jogging on the inside lane of the track and wearing it out. His most recent excuse is a need for a security guard to watch community members jog and walk around the track.
However, taxpayer money did pay for the track. The tennis courts are open to the public and haven’t been vandalized or misused. Now there is someone to keep an eye on the troublesome and pesky senior citizens who wear out the inside track lane, and they are still kicked off!
It’s time Principal Podhorsky acknowledges that there isn’t any real justification for closing the field and this town has very limited spaces for people to exercise and throw a ball around. I think this whole situation is sad, shameful and unnecessary. I would have expected more from a public school principal.
Who’s responsible for cleanliness along Torrey Pines Road?
I am a La Jolla resident who often bicycles through the Torrey Pines Road canyon between Ardath Road and La Jolla Village Drive. The amount of trash on the side of the road in this particular section of Torrey Pines Road is appalling. It reminds me of what you could see along a road in a Third World Country. I don’t know who is responsible for picking up this trash, but clearly, something must be done because for sure it is not the right welcome for anyone who is coming to visit our beautiful La Jolla.
Please, let the sleeping sea lions (and seals) lie
For centuries, we humans have polluted our oceans by garbage, sewage and oil spills. People who live in La Jolla are in a position to repair a fraction of our actions by allowing a few sea lions to make their home in less than a mile of the 70 miles of beaches in San Diego. Not being able to swim occasionally in that part of the beach — and a sporadic odor — seem like a very small price to pay for this kindness. The members of the San Diego City Council in 1993, who thought of this idea and implemented it, belong in the Elysian Fields.
Due to an oversight, the word “not” was left out of a quote in the story “La Jolla Permitters deny Dolphin Place project.” The full quote from community representative Phil Merten should have read: (The La Jolla Community Plan states) “To maintain and enhance existing community character and ambiance and to promote good design and visual harmony, in the transitions between new and existing structures, preserve the following elements: bulk and scale (to be consistent) with regard to surrounding structures from the public right of way,” he read. “This project simply does not comply with the Community Plan.”
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to La Jolla Light Editor, 565 Pearl St., Suite 300, La Jolla, CA 92037.