Our Readers Write: La Jollans share their views on car accidents, parking, electronic scooters, school start times and other local issues


Opinion / Letters to the Editor / Our Readers Write:

The following are Letters to the Editor from recent issues of La Jolla Light as La Jollans speak out on local issues. 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 or mail them to La Jolla Light Editor, 565 Pearl St., Suite 300, La Jolla, CA 92037


Why so many accidents on Cardenas Drive?

A driver hit our parked car on Cardenas Drive at 12:15 a.m. Feb. 9. Previously, we’ve had cars parked in front of our house hit three different times. Last year, there were two accidents within two weeks of each other on the street, just three doors down. There are three schools and two churches on the corner, four doors down. Quite frankly, I am amazed that no one has been killed here.

Amy Aiello


Diagonal parking could improve things in Village

There are several areas in La Jolla where converting parallel to diagonal parking would ease the shortage of parking at very low cost. In the example above, the road is easily wide enough for diagonal parking so safety concerns would not be an issue. If only one side was converted (ideally the side adjacent to The Bishop’s School because there are no curb cuts), I estimate an additional 10 parking spaces would be created. This would definitely relieve the parking shortage around La Jolla Rec Center, tennis courts and Bishop’s School.

David Bourne


Acts of kindness follow a bike accident in town

We read and hear so many negative stories these days, it makes me want to report on the kindness of a local resident and two law enforcement officers. I recently had a bicycle accident in La Jolla that left me sitting on the sidewalk bleeding profusely. A woman passing by in her car called 9-1-1, and then phoned my wife and insisted on picking my wife up and taking her to the hospital to see me. The woman subsequently called to inquire about my condition — a wonderful example of being a good neighbor.

The police officers who came to the scene found out where I lived and delivered my bicycle to my home. They also found one of my hearing aids in the gutter and delivered it to me in the hospital. I have enormous respect for law enforcement officers who daily put their lives at risk to protect us, and go out of their way to be kind and helpful.

I am so grateful to these people I didn’t know. Despite all the bad news that envelops us, there are still many people prepared to show kindness and consideration to those in their community.

William Shrimpton


Thumbs down on Marine St. beach park proposal

Swedish architect Erik Holtsmark’s proposal for construction of a Coney Islandesque park at the end of Marine Street was not well received at his Jan. 28 presentation before the La Jolla Parks & Beaches board. His refusal to consult with neighbors being directly impacted by this project was misguided. Our community has major problems with an ever-increasing transient population, and this sanctuary park concept, with full bathrooms, showers and vending machines, will only add fuel to that fire. There were more than 30 residents in attendance at that meeting and their sentiments were overwhelmingly against the proposal.

Although an official vote was not on the agenda, board chair Ann Dynes stated that board members were unanimous in their opposition. I believe that an official vote will be scheduled at the Feb. 25 meeting and I anticipate a large, standing-room-only, neighborhood turnout.

David Sear


Too many missing pieces in ‘energy choice’ idea

The Feb. 7 issue of La Jolla Light reported that District 1 City Council member Barbara Bry stated Community Choice Energy gives consumers “a choice of where we buy our electricity.” In other words, she’s in favor of an initiative with many unknowns on how all the pieces of this mayoral dream-scheme will come together. Since she is a self-professed successful business woman, she should know that a successful new commercial entity requires a near bullet-proof business plan and there is no such a plan in existence now. Yes, the City had an independent consultant draw up such a plan, but even they state that their October 2018 plan “should not be seen as a recommendation.”

At least 10 unknowns exist:

1) The PCIA or “exit fee” created by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) was much higher than anticipated, so the City is asking the CPUC to re-think it (lower it) for the dollar amount of this fee would approximate $20 per month and this would be in addition to the electricity charge appearing on a bill. It’s estimated the earliest the CPUC could respond to the City’s request would be the fall.

2) This “exit fee” has a direct impact on current financial projections, that is, said projections are now understated.

3) The business plan was drawn for a City-only Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), but now politicians are talking of a joint-agreement with other county municipalities and with the county itself, so that makes the current business plan useless.

4) If a county-wide CCA is created, the CPUC will have great concern because that entity would closely match the SDG&E service territory and that could negatively affect the financial integrity of SDG&E, and could cause the CPUC to decline to OK it.

5) A city-centered CCA would be the largest such entity in the state and that itself should cause caution for the capital markets will not know how to determine credit worthiness, and that could hinder the CCA in generating the working capital and the required reserves (in excess of $103 million) to fund the early years of operations.

6) Would the City have to guarantee payment of that initial bond issue, thus putting the taxpayers on the hook at a time when the City’s budget projects large deficits in the coming years?

7) It is contemplated to have the CCA be an Enterprise Fund, just like the Water & Sewer Department (gawd help us!) with a board of directors comprised of all elected politicians, who know nothing about the electric power market and the setting of rates to charge ratepayers.

8) A City CCA projects a staff of 44 people at an estimated cost of $5 million per year.

9) The plan states SDG&E “serves as the provider of last resort,” but the plan does not state if SDG&E will be paid for proffering such a guaranty.

10) Solana Beach created a CCA last June and to date, the average Solana Beach ratepayer is saving a whopping $2.65 a month.

These 10 points are just the tip of the iceberg identifying the unknowns that must be addressed per my perusal of the 125-page Feasibility Study and the 65-page Business Plan before the CCA becomes an agenda-approval item for the City Council. There are many more! Keep in mind what the Brookings Institution (a left of center think-tank) has stated, i.e. “wind and solar are much more expensive than conventional power; renewables require mandates because of their higher cost.”

How can the Mayor and the City Council even think of moving forward when there are so many unmeasured risks and unknowns that must be quantified prior to moving forward? Let’s hope they come to their senses before we taxpayers wind up picking up the broken pieces like we did with the Charger ticket guaranty.

Lou Cumming, Retired financial industry executive


What’s next? E-golf carts? Wise up folks!

It is incomprehensible to me, the number of scooters I see littering and buzzing around our neighborhoods these days, and how the City ever even considered allowing this infiltration in the first place. While crossing the Ingraham bridge in Pacific Beach on my way home to Bird Rock last week, I started counting scooters and lost track at over 200. Keep in mind, I was driving a direct route and not zig-zagging up and down streets and alleys, so I’m sure I missed 100 more.

Our public streets and sidewalks were not designed to incorporate these types of devises safely. Most people I see riding them treat our town like a giant playground, wearing a smile on their face, probably wondering to themselves how they can even get away with it. Same goes for the CEOs of the companies that provide these electric vehicles, knowing that this has to end soon, “so order as many as we can because one scooter pays for itself in a few days’ time and the rest is pure profit.” Genius! I wish I thought of this years ago, the liability seems to be nil.

For the environmentalists who believe this to be an eco-friendly means of transportation, wake up! What do you suppose happens to the scooters’ metal, rubber and batteries? I bet Mr. CEO says “it’s more cost-effective just throw them away than it’s worth to repair or recycle one — just order us some more!”

I’m pretty sure the majority of people riding them are not on their way to work or running errands; they’re joy riding. I admit these scooters look like fun. A cool toy. Maybe that’s why I see so many kids on them. Maybe that’s why I seem these scooters positioned in close proximity to our schools. Good target.

I’m guilty as well. Years ago, I ordered a battery-operated scooter online for a couple hundred bucks. Since it was my scooter, and I paid for it, I took care of it and locked it up when I reached my destination. I also locked it in my garage when I got home. I didn’t leave it on the street corner for someone else to use. Come to think of it, isn’t Mr. CEO just soliciting his rides and like a solicitor hides away from the public eye? Every news story I’ve seen about scooter incidents ends with: “We tried to contact and have yet to hear back from (Mr. CEO).”

Now, I see new red bikes hanging out with the scooters on corners. What’s next? Golf carts? Drones? How about pay-as-you-ride jet skis littering our coastline? You can’t tell me the thought hasn’t already entered Mr. CEO’s mind.

Mitch Gabriel


Community thanks for Ellen Phelan memorial ‘concert’

The family of Ellen Phelan would like to express its heartfelt gratitude to the La Jolla Light (for publishing an announcement of the event) and to the greater community for making Sunday, Jan. 20’s “Musical Offering,” such a spectacular tribute to her memory. The beautiful and historical Congregational Church of La Jolla (with which the Phelans maintained an uninterrupted relationship for over 50 years) was filled to capacity with Ellen’s devoted well-wishers from La Jolla and beyond.

The nearly four-hour program was warmly and enthusiastically received by all in attendance, and the community’s great love, respect and admiration for one of its own unforgettable “stars” was clearly palpable. As one La Jolla friend observed, “That was one helluva sendoff for Ellen!”

Special thanks go to Rev. Tim Seery and the LJCC staff for their generous assistance and support, and to the other La Jolla clergymen who honored Ellen with their participation (Rev. Dr. Mark Hargreaves (St. James-by-the-Sea), Rev. James E. Rafferty (Mary, Star of the Sea), and Rev. John Benbow (emeritus, LJCC). A shout out to the brilliant and outstanding musicians and dancers who created the magic for this very special occasion. It wouldn’t have been possible without all of you!

Victoria Martino


Nothing good about UTC Mall’s new parking fees

Other than the holiday season, there is always ample parking at the Westfield UTC shopping mall. No significant inconveniences, since Sears closed. Charging parking fees is an attempt by Westfield, based on feeble excuses, to create a new revenue stream on the backs of shoppers and also minimum wage employees, who may be asked to pay $75 for a monthly parking pass. This new policy is bad for shoppers, merchants and employees. Another reason for shoppers to buy on the Internet!

Bob Houston


An open letter supporting later school start times

Dear Members of the San Diego School Board: In the Jan. 31 La Jolla Light, I read about the proposal for a pilot program to try out a later start time at La Jolla High School and the School for Creative and Performing Arts. I urge you to vote to approve the proposal. And I urge you to include Muirlands Middle School, as well, to enable their students to continue to take classes at LJHS.

Twenty years ago, as parents, we urged the then-new Superintendent Alan Bersin to consider later start times, as experimentation in other states was already showing positive outcomes for student health and performance. In discussions here, serious debate was always squelched by the citing of sports and bus schedules.

With a pilot program, San Diego Unified can resolve once and for all if this can be made to work in our community.

Patricia R. Nussbaum; Past President, La Jolla High School PTA and Muirlands Middle School PTA


No fake news at La Jolla Light

I’m so proud of your newspaper for publishing, last week, the photos of the old mattress and box-spring set that was dumped — and laid there for days — on the curb of Torrey Pines Road at Hillside Drive. Since I live nearby, I drove by that mess for what seemed to be weeks and couldn’t believe it wasn’t being addressed. And in regard to the tree at the Rec Center, how long does it take for the City to cut down a tree? I could do it in 20 minutes. The priorities are really strange. Thanks for your paper. I enjoy reading it.

Dave Dooley


If we couldn’t laugh, we’d all be crying

Inga’s humor column in the Jan. 24 La Jolla Light issue on new “smart” washing machines is so right on that the Associated Press should pick it up and distribute the article around the country! I’ve had the same problems with new washers (and dryers!) and so have many of my friends. It was very well written and I really related to it. People around the world would, too.

Claire T. Irwin



The photo titled “La Jolla Falls,” submitted by Chris Cott of a rain-fed waterfall at the corner of Prospect Street and Girard Avenue in the Feb. 7 La Jolla Light, misidentified Cott — a La Jolla artist who specializes in airbrushing — as a T-shirt screen printer.


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 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.