Our Readers Write / Opinion / Letters to the Editor:
Letters to the Editor from the Jan. 5 and 12, 2017 issues of La Jolla Light as La Jollans speak out on local issues:
•••• It's tricky to file a complaint about flight paths, plane noise
I found the article "La Jollans protest flight path changes" in the Jan. 5, 2017 La Jolla Light issue to be interesting and valuable. Either I was not paying enough attention or there was not sufficient warning about this meeting of the Airport Noise Advisory Committee (ANAC), as I would have attended.
I have previously tried to make complaints, but I've been unable to find out how to make such a complaint for regular flights with the FAA. The FAA made changes sometime in the past couple of years for the approach of inbound flights from the North. Those flights used to ALL cross over, from over the ocean, via the uninhabited Torrey Pines State Reserve. Now many or most of those flights cross from over the ocean, to line up for landing over Jamul, by flying over La Jolla.
The Military makes submitting such complaints easy: http://www.miramar.marines.mil/Departments/Operations/ (not that they pay any attention to such complaints), but the FAA and the City of San Diego make it nearly impossible. There appears to be nothing that tracks helicopters, which have proliferated out of control over La Jolla.
This is the first time I've seen the online WebTrack option: http://webtrak5.bksv.com/san to track local flights. Unfortunately, this service is kind of useless because it is delayed about 30 minutes.
If I hear a loud flight flying too low or too close, I have to record the exact time, then watch this WebTrack 30 minutes later. I've noticed some airlines in Europe offer REALTIME updates of flight information. WebTrack does not appear to do this, making it difficult to file a detailed complaint. Even with this data on WebTrack, I do not see how one makes a complaint on that web page, so the lack of information continues to exist.
The WebTrack site shows that the City or Port Authority has installed noise sensors downtown and in Point Loma. However, before changing flight paths, they have not installed such noise sensors in Mission Beach, Pacific Beach or La Jolla. Why not? You make changes that cause a substantial change in our neighborhood, but you do not study the effect. Our local officials give lip service to neighborhoods, but by and large, they do not care how their decisions affect neighborhoods. — David N. Haney, Ph.D.
•••• Complaints about plane noise are the only way to stop it
Similar to our neighbors, my wife and I have noticed a significant increase in air traffic in the Bird Rock/La Jolla area over the past couple of months. The air traffic is more frequent, closer to the coast, and has resulted in a significant amount of new noise in our community.
However, during the recent Dec. 21, 2016 San.org noise meeting they reported a decrease in noise complaints during the October/November 2016 period (3 total noise complaints in Bird Rock and 115 in La Jolla Mesa). The low amount of noise complaints has led the airport authority to conclude that "an improvement in operations is responsible for the recent downturn in complaints as well as heightened awareness of flight paths and daily airport operations."
Their perceived downturn will likely result in these flight path changes becoming permanent and we will be left with the long term implications (i.e., reduction in quality of life, reduction in home values, etc.).
We urge that others impacted by this situation consider the following proactive measures:
• Attend the Airport Noise Advisory Committee meetings (www.san.org/airport-noise/initiatives#405494-meeting-schedule) to voice your concerns and/or review the summary minutes/documents to understand the viewpoint from the FAA and others on this growing issue.
• Submit a general or specific complaint via san.org website on all applicable flights. Below are the detailed steps to submit an online compliant, which is generally the most efficient method.
Step 1: Click on below website link for San Diego air traffic: webtrak5.bksv.com/san
Step 2: Click the small home icon on the left side of the map for your address/location.
Step 3: Cick the calendar on the lower left side of the page to input the date in question.
Step 4: Input the time (or move the control to the respective time) of the aircraft noise and then hit the play icon at bottom of webpage (which will play back the air traffic in your area during that time-frame).
Step 5: Identify the aircraft (green for departure plane, or red for arrival plane) in question, click on it, and a box will pop up with a report a complaint icon on lower left side
Step 6: Click on the report a complaint icon, fill in your info, and submit complaint
• Contact/submit complaints to local authorities on the airplane noise issues. Let's be proactive and let them know that we do not support these flight path changes! — Jeff Davis
•••• Add these complaints to concerns about flight paths, airplane noise
• I am a Muirlands resident and recently started hearing loud airplane noise. It sounds like a busy street and engine noise is higher when airplanes are actually visible flying over the ocean. Some airplane noise really rattles the house, specially the small airplanes that now fly directly over our house. Please let me know if any meetings to organize La Jolla against this flight path changes which affect our peace and property values. — Martha Price
• The airplane noise in Bird Rock is terrible! We can hear it daily and it really annoys us. But, what can we do to stop it? — Krishna Ratnam
• Thank you for the front page article (Jan. 5, 2017 La Jolla Light) regarding the flight path changes that have brought airplanes and their noise over La Jolla Shores. My family has lived in La Jolla Shores for many years, and it is generally a peaceful and quiet community. It is and has been, a wonderful place to live. The recent flight path changes, however, have brought loud jet airplanes close to our homes and this noise is destroying our peaceful community. It used to be that we could see the lineup of airplanes coming down the coastline over the ocean, and when they turned to go to the airport, we never heard them. Now, we hear constant and loud jet noises, and it appears they are turning toward the airport right over La Jolla Shores.
La Jolla is a natural amphitheater and noises travel in this natural environment. This is why we can hear the waves crashing and the sea lions barking, even though we live east of La Jolla Shores Drive. This is what we love about La Jolla. Now, what we hear instead is the high volume of jets approaching, the whistling of their descent, and the loud thundering engine noises as they pass overhead! It is highly agitating to live with this intense noise, which is persistent throughout the day and night.
Last Saturday night, I took the time to track the number of airplanes which passed overhead. Starting at 9:35, then 9:40, there were loud jets overhead. I slept for a few minutes and then woke up and recorded 10 p.m, 10:10 pm, 10:20 p.m., then slept a bit more, then woke up to more jets thundering overhead at 11, 11:25, 11:32 and 11:36 p.m., and then finally at 12:50 a.m. As I was home on New Year' Eve, these same jet patterns were recorded, with the last jet passing over at 3 a.m.
I'm not writing to complain that I cannot sleep with this noise, because the problem is much worse than sleep deprivation, it is that our enjoyment of life in our homes is being severely impacted by these jet noises overhead. After a long day at work or even a day off work, we expect quiet homes to retreat to without loud airplane noises overhead.
I am not exaggerating when I say my home now sounds like an Airport Control Tower. The jet noises are a slow torture that could be completely avoided if the landing patterns were returned to the previous patterns that did not impact our community. As I am writing this letter in the early afternoon, I've heard consistent and thundering jets overhead.
Lastly, as a local Realtor, I know neighborhoods and quiet surroundings are a huge reason people like to live in La Jolla, and the recent changes to the flight patterns substantially impact property values, as most people avoid homes on noisy roads or homes with airplane noises overhead. — Cameron Volker
•••• Kudos to CVS La Jolla for posted dog policy
I so appreciated Mary Rayes' recent letter, "Thank to CVS for posted dog policy." I believe she, like many of us are truly frustrated by the seemingly increased presence of pets — not bonafide service animals — in all the wrong places.
The same values of "politeness" that would never allow us to even think of taking a pet into a grocery store, a movie theater, an office, a clothing store, the grandstand of the Holiday Bowl Parade (seriously), or any other place occupied by the public is the same politeness that usually prevents us from speaking up when we see a pet in an inappropriate place. And when we do make a comment to the pet owner, the reaction is often an angry, defensive retort about how we must "hate dogs, cats, parrots, ferrets" (seriously).
I can't speak for others who are cringing when they see pets in people places, but I sincerely like and admire animals. (In fact, these days it's not hard to see how in many ways, they are far superior to humans, but that's another letter.) Yet pets should not be forced upon others and into spaces that are neither healthy nor appropriate for the animal or the humans who have to share that space through no choice of their own. Well, actually we do have a choice. I choose not to return to restaurants, hotels, stores, etc. where I've witnessed a pet (not a service animal) in a shopping cart, licking themselves while sprawled in the produce section, sitting on furniture or relieving themselves, etc.
CVS' large, posted sign is a great step in the right direction. Were these types of posters to appear elsewhere in increasing numbers, perhaps more of us will feel emboldened to over-come our politeness and speak up when we see a pet where it shouldn't be. Probably not, because our politeness and concern about making someone else uncomfortable usually trumps our own discomfort and frustration. But thank you, Mary for your letter, and thank you CVS for your poster. — Jan Barnes
•••• Common sense should prevail over use of La Jolla High School's new track
I usually don't participate in the banter like that going on about public use of the high school track, but it has reached the point where it demonstrates the "creep" in our society and control-hungry bureaucrats. School officials splendidly represent the ultimate bureaucrats. Although they are in charge of running the school, the school is not theirs. The taxpayers pay the interest on the bonds used to build the facility. Bureaucrats like to talk about bonds as if they were free. It is bureaucratic babble talking about joint-use agreements. Give me a break. I would bet most of the school officials don't live in La Jolla.
Now let's talk about the people who want to use the facility. It started out with people wanting to use the track. Makes sense. It's a nice track that just sits there. But now we have people talking about using it as a place to take their kids or toss a Frisbee. These people should go to a park!
People should not go on the high school field, just use the track. With respect to people and their dogs, they should be arrested. Dogs ruin fields. Look at what happen to the dog park on Soledad Mountain Road, a project of another bureaucrat. We now have a fenced-in pile of dirt. What an eyesore. The same thing will happen to the high school field if dogs are let on. If people ever get to use the track, they should call the police if they see someone with a dog.
The rules are simple. People who want to use the track can't be there during school activities. Period. People who want to use the track would probably be restricted to use before 7 a.m. and after 6 p.m., and on the weekends, but for the track ONLY. Stop the creep to other things than just running on the track.
We don't seem to be able to solve anything in La Jolla quickly or without a lot of banter (sea lions, Avenida de la Playa construction, rentals in residential neighborhoods, McMansions, bicycle racks that nobody wants, and businesses leaving because the rent is too high and the parking stinks. The track is a simple one. Keep it simple and "get 'er done." — Nick Duva
•••• La Jolla High school sports facilities should be open to community
I'm encouraged by all the letters submitted to La Jolla Light concerning the use of La Jolla High School's sports facilities. The track, tennis courts and lacrosse field help facilitate healthy living and fun in our community. I'm concerned that we are being deprived of an outlet that fosters community engagement. I also think this message of exclusivity isn't one we want to be sending our students. As a community, we value this space and strive to keep it clean and safe for everyone. — Larissa Tekerian
•••• Open the field, tear down the ivy wall at La Jolla High School
On the way to and from the La Jolla farmers market, we walk past La Jolla High School's brand new, beautiful jewel of an athletic facility. It is such a bright, functional improvement over the old, smelly, moldy, over-used carpet that used to sit there.
Why is the beat up, wood slatted, chain link and non-native water sucking plant clinging to this eyesore still there? That bleak, overlooked wall is blocking the view of the fields, the ocean, the sunsets, the competitors, the people of our community who enjoy their exercise.
That wall should come down. The fields should be open.
In my dream, the community sees our young athletes getting ready for their games and meets. They see how long and hard they work and perhaps some will want to see them in action. Open up the view, let us see what you got! La Jollans will witness people on the track who are older than them, more out shape than them, bigger than them and weaker than them. Those "down there" are moving, those who are watching are not.
I dream that they get inspired and start moving toward and onto that field. All that because they could actually see and use the track. Whoever is in charge of things like this fence, can we make it so? — John M. Dowd
•••• High school field is a part of the community
I am very disappointed that La Jolla High School has decided not to support the community that it asks so much from. There is no good reason to stop local residents from using the track and tennis courts when school isn't in session or being used by the students during non-school hours. I remember when the school asked the community to donate money to refurbish the tennis courts.
As soon as the money was raised and the work was completed they locked out the very people who donated to help improve the school. This was done under the guise that there was dog feces and trash on the courts. I never saw this or witnessed anyone abuse the courts. Its strange that school officials didn't prevent access to the faculties or have these problems until they had collected the money from the community. It's disheartening that the school has turned its back on the very people who supported and payed for these facilities. — Neil Sampher
•••• Black's Lookout fence should remain
I visited the Black's Lookout on Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016 and again today, Dec. 27. The fence does not seem to be in disrepair, except for the rusted lock box on the gate. Some people quoted in the Dec. 8 La Jolla Light article "Plans to spruce up Black's Lookout introduced" seemed to want to get rid of the fence entirely (great for the view, not so great for safety). In contrast, others implied that the current fence was too easy to climb, suggesting that an even more substantial fence is warranted. So a reasonable, no-cost compromise is to just keep the current fence. It would be fine to plant some low-cost, low-rise native vegetation in the barren spaces, but these should allow free access for people to walk right up to the fence for a clear view. Let the neighbors propose a design and a plan for maintenance — no need for a landscape architect.
What I would appreciate from the La Jolla Parks & Beaches group would be bold proposals to open up additional coastal access, trails and view points. There are many real problems that need to be addressed in La Jolla. Let's not fix problems that aren't really problems.
PS. I've noticed a real improvement in the coverage of local issues around La Jolla, with good depth and balance. Keep up the good work! — John Tellew
•••• City palm tree trimming methods questionable
Please have someone in the City explain why it makes sense to trim palm trees on only one side of a street? For example, the upper part of Girard Avenue on the south side from Pearl Street to Kline Street is littered with fallen, dead fronds. Expend the same energy and do both sides, just a shorter distance if funds are a limiting factor. The current procedure is illogical, and leads to messy streets.
I've tried stacking some fronds, but no one disposes of them. Girard Avenue is certainly no "Jewel." — Larry McCracken
•••• Here's another 'unfair' parking ticket tale to tell in La Jolla
I would like to add my experience with the parking ticket scam going on in La Jolla. I am permanently disabled (foot) and was trying to find a parking spot on Fay Avenue and, as usual, handicap spots were few and far between. It was the summer (2015) and I had to walk about four blocks to my doctor's office for an appointment about my foot. I was about 10 minutes over my (parking) time and I walked up to find a ticket on my windshield.
I had my (handicap) placard on my dash, but apparently the officer didn't feel like getting of his comfy chair to check it and instead took a picture. I went to Vons right afterward and I actually found a police officer in the parking lot who agreed to sign my ticket off. I showed him all my proof and sent it directly in the mail.
About a week went by and I received a citation in the mail saying that the signing off by the police officer was insufficient, even though it states on the ticket that was all I needed. Again, I have a permanent handicap placard. I forwarded it to the City Attorney, who then bounced it back to me saying there was nothing he could do about it. I called and spoke to a man named "Jose," who told me that the officer took a picture and it was my fault he didn't get out because I should have hung (the placard).
It doesn't stop there. Against my better judgment, I sent the $20 fine ... yes, only $20 for all this. I then wrote the check to The City of Crooks of San Diego and they cashed it!
This is still not the end of my story. During the time I sent the check, the City sent me a $10 late fee! I didn't pay it. So then, in April 2016, I received my license tags and with a note that read the City has taken out an additional $10 for that parking ticket late fee it charged, and I had a bench warrant out for me that whole year — for $10. I repeat have a permanent handicap placard! I told the City that the first chance I got to tell this story I would. Thank you to the other two readers who wrote their ticket stories so I could tell mine. I am sure there are others. — Vaudwan Handley
•••• Thoughts on the sea lion 'protection' petition
I think the La Jolla Light might have inadvertently published "fake" news in the Dec. 15, 2016 article about a recent change.org petition aimed at San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer to protect the sea lions at La Jolla Cove and people's off-hand responses about it. There is more to journalism than cutting and pasting a propaganda piece and gathering hasty comments.
1. In the story, petition originator Skylar Rains states that she is a UC San Diego student (and though she well may be), the top of her petition reads "Riverside, California."
2. The petition calling La Jolla Cove Beach "part of the sea lions' habitat and natural breeding habitat" contradicts the findings of 20 years of federal studies (Stock Assessment Reports) by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). NOAA wants sea lions wild, not mingling with people. No public beach is recognized by those authorities as a "natural habitat." Exploiting sea lions for an unnatural tourist attraction is not protection, nor does San Diego have authority to allow it.
3. The removal of sea lions was suggested by NOAA's head of its Office of Protected Resources in preference to the unnatural mixing of sea lions and people caused by the temporary occupation of the beach by released rehab sea lions — an unforeseen consequence of the Sea World rescue program overseen by NOAA.
4. NOAA maintains there is no breeding of sea lions on the San Diego mainland (or wasn't). Pups were found washed up after a bad El Nino storm season, and the pups and adults should go back to the Channel Islands. Sure enough, sea lions left the beach this fall, and only a few stragglers remain by Boomer Beach rocks, none with the tags identifying the last wave of temporary immigrants.
5. The City has taken NO action concerning sea lions, including no courtesy of reply to Steve Haskins and the La Jolla Town Council's proposal to save the City money by installing NOAA-approved barriers at the cliffs or suggested water spraying to coax the sea lions to return to the wild areas from which they came. Who would believe a marine mammal is harmed by getting wet?
6. The answer to the question, "Where are they going to go?" should have been researched. Sea lions have no problem swimming hundreds of miles (and they do), to seek seasonal food sources. They probably have gone north now, after plundering the game fish out of La jolla Cove's Marine Protected Area Reserve. Cove divers are reporting coincident fish photo opportunities reduced to mollusks, worms and fingerlings. The NOAA Office of Protected Resources specifically recommended preparing to repel a seasonal return invasion before the sea lions settle back in. — John Leek
•••• Come hear a talk about gray whales, Jan. 11
At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11 local college biology instructor Ric Matthews will give an illustrated talk on long range whale-watching trips from the 1970s and '80s. It was during this time period that the gray whales became friendly — approaching skiffs and interacting with people. In addition to the gray whales, Matthews will discuss other marine mammals found along the way to the lagoons of Baja. This presentation is part of a monthly series by the San Diego Chapter of the American Cetacean Society, and is free of charge. The event is held at Sumner Auditorium, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 8595 La Jolla Shores Drive. There is street parking only. — Diane Cullins
•••• What's on YOUR mind?
Letters published in La Jolla Light express views and comments 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 email@example.com or mail them to La Jolla Light Editor, 565 Pearl St., Suite 300, La Jolla, CA 92037. Letters reflect the writer's views and do not necessarily represent opinions of the newspaper staff or publisher.