OUR READERS WRITE: Letters from the July 6 and July 13 issues

Is Scripps Forum violating beach-access, parking rules?

Three years ago, I noticed drastically fewer parking spaces in the vicinity of Scripps beach and determined via public information requests and a review of the Coastal Commission permit that the Scripps Forum at SIO was violating several provisions of its Coastal Permit, most egregiously it was reserving the SIO parking lots on weekends for its private events when the permit specifically stated 83 spaces were to be preserved on weekends for the public to use via an onsite parking ticket machine in Lots P002 and P003.

Hundreds of expensive parking tickets were issued to the public for the first three years of the Forum’s operations that were invalid because the lots were supposed to be open to the public on weekends. Now this is happening again.

My complaints about this to the Coastal Commission were met with inaction for six months in 2015, so I brought it to the attention of a Light reporter and one day after his story appeared on April 21, 2015, UCSD began complying with its permit obligation to open the SIO parking lots to the public on weekends.

I am writing to La Jolla Light because in recent months, Scripps Forum has again begun failing to make the required 83 spaces in the SIO lots available to the public. They are repeatedly posting as “reserved” for their private events so many spaces that fewer than 83 remain for public use.

I’ve attached a few photographs of the many reserved spaces I saw on June 18, 2017, demonstrating this. According to my count of reserved spaces, the public was shorted at least five of the required spaces on this date. I observed the same thing a few weekends prior. I suspect Scripps Forum is gradually decreasing the public spaces and hoping no one will notice this renewed violation of its permit.

This willful violation of their coastal permit is also newsworthy because SIO is now seeking public approval to add a second private event venue on the SIO campus at the NOAA Fisheries building, which is being repurposed for classrooms, a meeting center and second wedding venue, and a cafe.

Given their track record, this new application should include many more conditions by SIO to insure public beach access and enforcement provisions with teeth before it is approved.

Pamela Wilson

Editor’s Note: The La Jolla Light reached out to the California Coastal Commission regarding the alleged parking violations, and received this answer: “The Scripps Seaside Forum was constructed under a permit from the (California Coastal) Commission with conditions governing the availability of paid parking spaces for the general public. A couple of years ago, we received complaints that UCSD was not complying with the parking requirements because the wedding parties (held there) were reserving the parking for their guests, forcing out the public. After many meetings with UCSD and its event coordinators, we worked out how future events should be run. UCSD is allowed to reserve something like 17 spaces max (for special events), but had to improve the signage onsite informing the public of their ability to park there on weekends and more.”

Keep A-frame signs out of public right-of-way

More and more, local Realtors feel compelled to place their Open House signs anywhere they feel will get attention. I now see them in the middle of sidewalks (where people with baby strollers have to go into the street to get around them), and even blocking the yellow ramps on the corners (which also blocks wheelchairs and strollers). You can also find these signs in the middle of four-way intersections, where they block road signs meant to create safer intersections for crossing pedestrians. You can find these signs on the corners and sidewalks of Herschel, Pearl and Girard, almost any day of the week now.

Please advise if this is legal, and if not, what La Jolla residents can do about it.

Chris Martin

Editor’s Note: City Municipal Code §142.1206 “Violations of Sign Regulations” states: that it is unlawful to do the following:

1) Place, post, paint or secure any sign, pennant, flag, banner, balloon or similar attention-seeking device on public property or within the public right-of-way unless otherwise provided in the Municipal Code or specific state statute;

2) Place any lettering, card, poster or notice of any kind on any curb, sidewalk, street, pole, post, utility box, hydrant, bridge, tree, building or other surface that is located on public property or in the public right-of-way unless otherwise provided in the Municipal Code or specific state statute; or

3) Erect any sign on any premises contrary to the provisions of this Division.

“Violations of this Division shall be treated as strict liability offenses regardless of intent.”

Three thoughts on solving ‘the homeless’ issue

I would like to offer a few words in defense of the homeless among us. Arresting homeless people for misdemeanors or, worse yet, moving them to another area is not a viable solution to the problem. If we are honest with ourselves, we will understand this to be a fact. So, let us see the homelessness issue as an opportunity for our communities to reflect on the causes of increasing homelessness and what we as a community can do. Here are some ideas for what we should consider:

First, it has been widely reported that there is a housing shortage in San Diego. A big factor in this is the exponential growth in population. But this is not the only cause. Other factors at play include: a lack of community support for new, affordable developments in certain neighborhoods; cities allowing developers to build homes focused mostly on the luxury market; and public subsidies of million dollar homes with the lack of a cap on deductions for mortgage interest. We need to realize that each of these factors play a role in causing the problem of homelessness.

Second, we need, as a community to support investment in mental health care. While it is not perfect, the ACA (Obamacare) has helped addressed the issue of access to care. Repealing this legislation to secure a tax cut will not help solve the problem of mentally ill individuals ending up on the streets or in prisons. We should be on the phone with our Congressperson or Senator urging them to push back against repeal.

Finally, and I realize I need to work on this as well, we should acknowledge the unfortunate among us. Say hello, talk to them, try to understand their circumstances. Being in such a dire situation takes a huge toll on even the strongest of constitutions. If we cannot help them financially, our acknowledgment of their existence will be, I’m sure, much more appreciated.

Martin Pszczola

Point of clarification on local speed limits

Along parts of La Jolla Boulevard, going north after leaving the roundabouts, the speed limit increases to 30 mph and then resumes to 25 mph somewhere around Rosemont. Previously it was 35, but the City reduced it to 30 mph. In the recent story about speed limits in town, if La Jolla Light is just posting information that will keep drivers safe from a ticket, I guess using a lower speed than one that is the actual speed would not hurt.

Sharon Beckas

Re: La Jolla Cove pollution

I was very surprised that the article about the La Jolla Cove water being polluted didn’t even mention the many sewer leaks that have occurred there. Additionally, the huge annual fireworks show, which goes off directly over a strict Marine Protected Area surely doesn’t help with the water pollution level at The Cove does it? These fireworks are shot off directly over the sea lions, which should be a violation in itself. Fireworks may be pretty, but it might be time to think about how they are also an environmental hazard that could be easily be eliminated at Scripps Park and The Cove.

Nancy Lee

Corrections: July 6 issue

The front story about Surf Moms should have said that surfer Jessie Epperson is experiencing a side effect from breast cancer treatment, the breast cancer itself has not returned.

The story “SD Environmental Center to manage Princess Street access project” contained two errors. Friends of WindanSea is the group that may financially support the effort (not the WindanSea Surf Club) and the San Diego Golf Club was listed as a supporter, when it is actually the San Diego Council of Divers.

The photo story on the 2017 Athenaeum Patron Party inadvertently contained four photographs from the 2016 party. You can read the corrected version on page B12 in the Lifestyles section of this issue.

Swim … interrupted

It is rumored that the La Jolla Rough Water Swim (LJRWS) in September at The Cove could be canceled, again. This would be disappointing when so many other associations work around problems to hold their events. The LJRWS shirts pictured are from 1991 to the last swim in 2015. The shirts represent so many happy memories for me and others. Each shirt always sparks comments like “Wow! That was a good year!” or “Do you remember ... ”

The ocean water at La Jolla Cove is not in very good condition right now. The grass in front of the restrooms is looking pretty bad. And the restrooms for which I contributed funds for remodeling are still working their way through endless City of San Diego committees.

There is a new District 1 City Council member in town, Barbara Bry. Let’s write a few letters to her to try and get some improvements in The Cove area. It is not just regular visitors who enjoy The Cove and Scripps Park. The visitor traffic is likely more than 2 million people annually, coming from the United States and many foreign countries. Wouldn’t it be nice if those visitors saw a more attractive park, new restrooms and a cleaner beach and Cove?

Maybe there will be new LJRWS shirts and more happy moments for swimmers if inaction turns to action. It is up to us!

Steve Cross

Editor’s Note: District 1 City Council member Barbara Bry can be reached at (619) 236-6611 or barbarabry@sandiego.gov

La Jollans should find off-street spot for homeless people

We recently visited Lisbon and Amsterdam, where we were surprised to see hardly any homeless people on the streets. Here in La Jolla, so many are permanently squatting on the sidewalks along Pearl and Prospect Streets and Girard Avenue. Being residents, we see them every day.

Allowing them to squat or roam on the sidewalks may be a compassionate solution, but all are panhandling, some have inappropriate signs, a few are aggressively trying to get attention by speech or eye-contact. Some even surprise the pedestrians with sudden noises to get attention.

Many definitely need immediate mental care and may pose a risk to pedestrians if they are not cared for. Encountering them at night creates a scary situation. This is not a safe and peaceful environment for people who live in or visit the Village area.

When people regularly provide them with money or food, it only encourages them to stay and perpetuates the problem. La Jolla needs to move the homeless people off the sidewalks immediately and find them a designated location that is comfortable for them and their belongings until they can be rehabilitated. It is a humanitarian problem needing a compassionate solution soon.

L. Yengar

Bicyclists must hug the right-hand curb

The article “Rules of the Road for Bicyclists” in the June 29 issue omitted a fundamental rule for riding bikes, one that is often ignored. California Vehicle Code section 21202 requires bicycles be ridden “as close as practical to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway.” There are exceptions for making a left turn, overtaking another bike or car, or avoiding “unsafe conditions.” Obviously, riding two or more abreast is a violation of this rule, yet it is commonly done and leads to holding up vehicular traffic and angering motorists.

Ted Haas

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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