Search on for elementary school principal; scooter rep faces critics at Bird Rock Council meeting

Alex Yerbury, speaking at the June 5 Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC) meeting, nnounced that the leave of absence being taken by Bird Rock Elementary principal Amanda Hale, covered by La Jolla Light in February, is now permanent. (Hale had come under fire from parents for failing to address special learning needs, failing to provide a safe learning environment and reportedly telling a teacher not to report a case of inappropriate touching in the classroom.)

Yerbury, speaking two days before the completion of her term as Bird Rock Foundation president, said that Hale “would be headed to a different position in the district — not a school, but a position.” She said a panel was forming to interview for a new principal, a hire they expect to make by the end of June.

Bird rocks Bird Rock

Fresh from his company’s victorious City Council vote against banning scooters on the Pacific Beach boardwalk last month, Tim Harder, Southern California and Arizona rep for Bird, announced updates to his company’s tech in response to complaints from community groups.For instance, the new models have odometers, so riders can see how fast they’re going and not violate laws such as 8 mph speed limit on the Pacific Beach boardwalk. (That boardwalk, he added, was initially designated by Caltrans as a Type 2 bike lane.)

Also, Harder said that any scooter not being used at least three times a day is taken out of rotation in that neighborhood. And, acknowledging the fact that no one — especially not a tourist — walks around with helmets, Harder said his company exploring the possibility of a free helmet “that might come out of the floorboard.” Finally, Harder said Bird is releasing an animated tutorial, sometime in the next couple of weeks, that will show exactly what renters are supposed to do.

Resident Don Schmidt wasn’t having any of it.

“I am so appalled,” he said during the Q&A. “Our right-of-ways are being encroached upon, 6 percent of our population is disabled and somebody’s going to be killed because someone’s going to be coming down. I feel so bad for the young parents who are just trying to walk their kids in a stroller. I’ve been almost hit twice in PB. It’s appalling and I’m not shooting the messenger. I’m very mad at the mayor. People from out of town, they don’t care because they’re here to party.”

Harder apologized but stood some ground as well, telling Schmidt and the group: “There is legislation pending at the state level that would change the law so that motorized scooters would be considered under the rules for electric bicycles, because we don’t believe that we should be considered a Vespa, which is the regulation we’re currently under, so you have to wear a helmet.

“You’re all adults and I think you should be able to decide if you want to wear a helmet or not.”

It went back and forth like that for 10 more minutes.

Forward Street Lake

Civil engineer and Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) consultant Matt Mangano updated BRCC on his recent discussions with City engineers regarding the north-south storm water that ponds on the east side of Forward Street and La Jolla Boulevard (aka the Forward Street Lake). He said that, in 2015, landscapers had installed extra piping that matched the size of the City’s piping to get the water from this system down to pipes just south of the intersection.

However, when Mangano brought the issue to the City’s attention, he said, he was told the pipes were a detriment to the drainage and that the river rocks in the MAD were too large.

“It went back and forth on topics like this until we acquired, thanks to Joe LaCava, the original plans for the MAD when it was installed, and I worked with the landscapers to get the original swale back in place,” Mangano said.

After that, the City conducted a full field survey and, Mangano said, offered verbal confirmation that they can see where the issue may be. He said he expects to hear back from the City “in the next couple of weeks on whether that’s an infrastructure project on the corner or anything beyond that.”

After that, the City conducted a full field survey and, Mangano said, offered verbal confirmation that they can see where the issue may be. He said he expects to hear back from the City “in the next couple of weeks on whether that’s an infrastructure project on the corner or anything beyond that.”

In other BRCC news

View corridor upkeep: Schmidt and Marilyn Hyde updated the board on their coastal-overlook working group. It seems Bird Rock’s view corridors — particularly Moss Lane; Midway, Forward and Bandera streets; and Bird Rock Avenue — have not landscaped or otherwise attended to, despite being heavily used, and have become, Hyde said, “really ugly.”Hyde said she wanted to get trash standardized, because “some have trash cans, some don’t and some have pick-up and some don’t.” She said she would also like to get a right-of-entry from the Streets Division, which maintains the overlooks, “and we know what conditions are streets are in, so that kind of explains what our overlooks look like.”

In addition, Hyde said she would like to rely on permanent help rather than just volunteers, “because life changes, and the people who were living there or cared no longer are around.”

Hyde tentatively threw out a couple of solutions, trying to gauge response.

“Why not Parks & Rec?” she asked. “They clean up the parks, why not do the street overlooks? “

She also suggested amending the MAD to include the same routine maintenance on the overlooks that gets conducted on the roundabouts.

BRCC treasurer Barbara Dunbar suggested branding the overlooks as “pocket parks,” so they can be taken care of by La Jolla Parks & Recreation.“I know they’ve done that in other locations, and I believe that La Jolla has a deficit of what they’re supposed to have park-wise,” she said, “so it would behoove us to look into that, even though I know Park & Rec doesn’t have a whole lot of funding.”

Dunbar also suggested that Hyde and Schmidt collaborate with the Park & Beaches advisory group, which she said is looking into issues with all La Jolla coastal overlooks.“Obviously, this is a topic that’s near and dear to your hearts,” Hyde said after 15 minutes, “because this was gong to be only a five-minute update.”

Slurry situation: After Barbara Bry representative Mauricio Medina gave his monthly update, he asked for problems and was told that the lights are no longer visible on the flashing crosswalks due to being full of gravel from a recent slurry application.

“If there are any specific intersections, let me know,” Medina said.BRCC president John Newsam remembered that Medina promised to look into whether a City inspector could review all the surface coatings.

“I reached out to them,” Medina replied, “and they said that this is kind of what happens after the first application of the slurry and, the second coating, they’re more thorough.”Dunbar countered that, after the second coating, she saw a motorcyclist spin out on a roundabout, “so there’s still gravel out there.”

“That’s good to know,” Medina said. “I’ll reach out to staff about that.”

Special events: A roundup of upcoming Bird Rock events announced at the meeting included Sunday on the Boulevard., which replaces the annual summer picnic, on Sunday, Aug. 5 along La Jolla Boulevard.Also, on Sat, Sept. 15, BRCC will host an as-yet-unnamed health-and-wellness event spotlighting gyms, estheticians and massage therapists.— The Bird Rock Community Council next meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday at La Jolla Masonic Lodge, 5655 La Jolla Blvd.

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