Our Readers Write: La Jollans speak out about housing bill, trimming palm trees, lack of parking, cannabis billboards, crumbling streets, The Conrad, vaccines and more local topics

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 editor@lajollalight.com or mail them to La Jolla Light Editor, 565 Pearl St., Suite 300, La Jolla, CA 92037


Even kids don't like California State Senate Bill 330 (Housing Crisis Act of 2019)

This card (pictured above) was written by my 7-year-old granddaughter after I attempted to explain what effects Senate Bill 330 could have on La Jolla. (The bill could remove height restrictions on new development.) All three of our granddaughters love coming to our home, love the neighborhood, the beach, just about everything about life in The Shores.

Just keep in mind that what she wrote is from the perspective of a 7-year-old. She made the card, on her own, without any help from me. Without any prompting, she came up with the idea of drawing in all the high-rise buildings.

Just thought her card might be of interest to the readers of La Jolla Light.

Phil Wise


City Council's jabs at neighborhoods not lost on readers

Inga's column in last week's La Jolla Light was spot on! She should make a copy of it for each City Council person, autograph it for them, and then have it delivered to their offices to drive home the message that we citizens have had it up to here with their assault on single-family neighborhoods. Keep the pressure on them!

Lou Cumming

See the mentioned article: "Let Inga Tell You: Assault on family neighborhoods" at lajollalight.com/our-columns/let-inga-tell-you/sd-cm-ljl-inga-11-20190410-story.html


Fire Station 13 Donor Wall dedication, April 23

The La Jolla Sunrise Rotary Club will host a ceremony at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23 to unveil a Recognition Wall to honor donors, contractors and volunteers who gave money and time to completely renovate and expand Fire Station 13 at 809 Nautilus St., across from La Jolla High School. Congressmember Scott Peters, City Councilmember Barbara Bry, Past Fire Chief Tracy Jarmin, members of the station fire crew and other dignitaries are expected to attend.

The Donor Recognition Wall is the latest Sunrise Rotary project. In 2006-2007, Sunrise members organized a capital campaign to raise approximately $700,000 in funds and like-in-kind donations to repair and upgrade the fire station. The "new" fire house was dedicated July 20, 2007. The remarkable public-private partnership won a service award from Rotary International and universal praise for the village who came together to complete the project in 18 months. The public is invited to attend.

Steve Cross, Secretary/Past President of La Jolla Sunrise Rotary


Donations needed to trim palm trees

A few weeks ago, a reader wrote in about the need for trimming the overgrown and unsightly palms along the coastline on Coast Boulevard at Whale View Point. We can produce a solution.

The La Jolla Parks & Beaches, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) that makes advisory recommendations on local parks and beach issues to the City of San Diego , and raises funds and shepherds public-improvement projects.

The City does not have the budget, nor the resources available, to trim these trees, so we're currently working with the City Parks & Rec Department to obtain a Right of Entry permit and hire a certified Arborist to trim some of the palms — we just need help from locals and residents with the funding!

For information on how to contribute and help beautify our town, please contact us at lajollaparksandbeaches@gmail.com

Bob Evans, La Jolla Parks & Beaches, Inc.


Ocean Tunnel project: Burning Man art meets ocean activism

On Saturday, April 13, NGO's RouteUSA, Sand Cloud and the California Student Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG Students) held a beach cleanup at Scripps Beach where students, community members and researchers spent the morning scouring the coastline for plastic waste to use to upcycle into an art piece and raise awareness on issues harming our marine ecosystems.

Following the cleanup, visitors were invited to tour the "Ocean Tunnel," a walkable visual of the effects of overfishing, pollution and climate change on life underwater.

The piece was originally constructed at the 2018 Burning Festival and is available to view during the month of April at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

San Diego has already been making a lot of progress on the issue of plastic pollution. Its Polystyrene Foam & Single Use Plastics Ordinance took effect Feb. 23 with the aim to ban the distribution of polystyrene food service ware and decrease single-use plastic usage in the City, overall.

CALPIRG students at UC San Diego and across the state are working on the "Plastic-Free Seas" campaign, calling for legislators to take action on a statewide level by passing the California Circular Economy & Plastic Pollution Reduction Act, also known as SB54 or AB1080, which would establish a plan to "reduce and recycle" 75 percent of single-use plastics by 2030.

Assemblymember Todd Gloria and Sen. Toni Atkins have a history of working on environmental issues in San Diego. We really hope to see them continue to maintain these issues as one of their top priorities and push these bills forward this legislative session. It's evident from all the trash we collected on April 13 that our beaches are littered with microplastics — from polystyrene pieces and to toothpaste caps and clothing tags. We need action on this issue now!

Maddie Hamman, a Ph.D. student at Scripps, described the Ocean Tunnel made of murals from various artists: "It's a 100-foot long tunnel that shows how ocean ecosystems have changed over the last couple hundred years due to human impacts like overfishing and climate change. As you walk through, you'll see a transition from an ocean that's full of large fish, but as you progress, the water gets greener and murkier, with just a monoculture of jellyfish, so greatly lacking biodiversity."

CALPIRG Students is a statewide organization (more details at calpirgstudents.org) that works to defend the public interest.

Veronika Michels, CALPIRG's Plastic-Free Seas campaign coordinator


Tarnishing Our Jewel: Think you've seen everything?

A TV set was junked up towards the top of La Jolla Natural Park. Quite an unfortunate sight!

Jeffrey Clemens


Most residents desperate for street parking spaces

In response to the March 28 story "La Jolla Farms residents see red at traffic meeting" (protesting a loss of 11 parking spots under new City plan), I say, "Really?"

I wonder if any of the La Jolla Farms residents have ever driven through or shopped in The Village? There is no parking. From the north shore to Park Row to Virginia Way to the Barber track to Bird Rock, there is no parking for the area residents. However, grime from brake fluid, traffic and trash left behind by beach-goers, tourists, school kids, workers, shoppers — we've got it all.

If you haven't noticed, La Jolla has become a huge parking lot (especially on Torrey Pines Road) so the 11 parking spaces the La Jolla Farms residents are "seeing red over" seem out of touch with the rest of La Jolla. I'd be happy with one space in front of my house now and then to simply unload my groceries.

Alicia Quackenbush

See the mentioned article: "La Jolla Farms residents see red at traffic meeting" at lajollalight.com/news/sd-cm-ljl-tt-3-20-story.html


Why advertise marijuana close to neighborhoods?

I'd like to address some issues raised in a letter that came as a response to the March 14 article "Bird Rock billboards going to 'pot': La Jolla and Pacific Beach residents riled over drug ads in neighborhoods." The article was about marijuana billboards in a residential neighborhood where families live. There are two fundamental concerns.

First, the legalization of marijuana recreational use does not eliminate the adverse effect it has on the developing brain. There is a reason it remains illegal for children to use. Marijuana was, is, and will always be a drug. A simple Google search will reveal numerous peer-reviewed studies on the negative effect that continual marijuana use has on the brain, but this is outside the scope of this letter.

The business owner, after attempting to minimize the effects of marijuana, concedes that it should not be used by adults until they reach the age of 24. I agree! Indeed, one study published by the Centers for Disease Control found "exposure to marijuana advertisements was associated with higher odds of current marijuana use among adolescents." This is the point of this discussion.

So, I ask, 'Why is this business owner advertising her marijuana business so close to schools and family neighborhoods, if she believes that children should not use marijuana?' Like virtually all other companies, marijuana businesses want more customers so they can increase profitability. But this is not just about money. When it comes to billboards in residential communities, it is about public health — more specifically, the health of young people.

This brings me to the second issue — regulation. While the growth, sale, and use of marijuana are now legal and regulated, the laws and their enforcement regarding advertising appear to be lagging. The State of California allows cities to regulate pot billboards as long as local rules do not conflict with state laws, but San Diego's City Council has yet to work out the details. City Council members and the City Attorney have discussed marijuana billboard regulations. The issue will come up again, as new Council members settle into their new committee assignments.

A common pro-marijuana argument is that it is no worse than cigarettes or alcohol. For decades, pro-pot advocates have been calling for marijuana to be treated like alcohol and tobacco. Now that marijuana is legal for adult recreational use, I agree that its advertising should be treated like alcohol and tobacco. Radio and TV ads for cigarettes were banned a half-century ago. And next month marks the 20th anniversary of the nationwide ban on tobacco billboards. The alcohol industry even has voluntary guidelines for radio and TV commercials.

Another study, published in the July, 2018, journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, looked at seven years' worth of data. The researchers found "higher average exposure to medical marijuana advertising was associated with higher average use, intentions to use, positive expectancies, and negative consequences (for young people)."

Let's agree that marijuana use is not appropriate for our community's youth, and respect the research that demonstrates the link between marijuana advertising and the increase in use among young people. Let's use that science to make common-sense rules for marijuana advertising, just like the process for regulating alcohol and tobacco ads.

Laura Bertagnolli, Bird Rock resident

See the mentioned article: "Bird Rock billboards going to 'pot': La Jolla and Pacific Beach residents riled over drug ads in neighborhoods" at lajollalight.com/news/sd-cm-ljl-brcc-3-5-story.html


City Council member Barbara Bry responds: Regulations needed for cannabis ads

In 2016, voters passed Proposition 64, which legalized cannabis, and granted cities and municipalities the authority to establish a framework to regulate recreational and non-recreational use. As vice chair of the Public Safety & Livable Neighborhoods Committee, I will work with my colleagues to pass responsible marketing regulations to restrict how cannabis advertisements are displayed around the City.

My priority is to attempt to align marijuana billboard advertising with the City's current alcohol billboard regulations. These new marijuana advertising regulations will apply to permitted/licensed marijuana outlets, un-permitted/un-licensed marijuana outlets, marijuana delivery services, and online marijuana advertising platforms like Weedmaps and Eaze.

Barbara Bry, Council President Pro Tem

See the related article: "Bird Rock billboards going to 'pot': La Jolla and Pacific Beach residents riled over drug ads in neighborhoods" at lajollalight.com/news/sd-cm-ljl-brcc-3-5-story.html


When will our crumbling streets be repaired?

For the last 3 years, it has been a shame to see all the cracks and pot holes as one drives along Nautilus and the adjoining streets. You'll find huge holes, bumps and all kinds of machinery left on the streets that can trigger accidents. A few years ago, I participated in City meetings and I remember that streets must be resurfaced every 25 years. I've lived on Avenida Wilfredo for 35 years and no street repairs have ever be done. I'm writing to La Jolla Light because it is a good showcase for revealing issues. Thanks for any help in getting the City and our elected officials to respond and repair these vital roads soon.

Orazio De Luca

Editor's Note: The City of San Diego's Streets Division website states its mission as: "To provide a safe city street system through effective and efficient maintenance, with an emphasis on exceptional customer service ... To report a pothole, call (619) 527-7500 or use the Get It Done app at sandiego.gov " In any case, La Jolla Light has forwarded your message to them and we'll be watching for some action!


Clarification: Vaccines

Talking with Dr. Daniel Lichtmann, we agree La Jolla Light did a nice job exploring the important issue of rising vaccination medical exemptions in the county in the March 28 issue. However, Dr. Lichtmann felt his quote about family-history medical exemptions came across as being in disagreement with the quote from Dr. Mark Sawyer which appears in the paragraph just before.

There is no disagreement on this point between the doctors. Dr. Lichtmann's quote should have said: "Another physician interviewed for this article, Scripps Clinic Carmel Valley pediatrician Dr. Daniel Lichtmann, noted that the CDC does allow a family-history medical exemption, but only in the incredibly rare case of a family history of immunodeficiency that's due to heredity and only until this disorder has been ruled out clinically for the child."

Keith Darcé, Scripps Health, public relations manager

See the related article: "How under-vaccinated are La Jolla's public schools? Rising medical exemptions beg that question; 28 students were medically excused" at lajollalight.com/news/sd-cm-ljl-vaccinations-20190325-story.html


Not all ideas are good ones, especially with one person's idea for a "Marine Memorial Mall"

I wish the La Jolla Light would put quotes around references to Erik Holtsmark's non-existent "Marine Memorial Mall," a fever-dream of one person that got disproportionate press coverage and yet was resoundingly rejected at public meetings of La Jolla Parks & Beaches by the neighboring community. I think the "Marine Memorial Mall" would have destroyed the pristine view corridor and beach access at Marine Street beach and replaced simplicity with built honky-tonk.

Now Mr. Holtsmark has resurfaced with a new focus for his ideas. Again, through La Jolla Parks & Beaches, he is suggesting "renovation" to La Jolla Shores' Scripps Park picnic area, including removing old Australian tea trees that serve as windbreaks and have uniquely twisted trunks. I hope responsible parties will proceed with extreme caution and take to heart the adage of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, "Less is more."

Frances O'Neill Zimmerman

See the related article: "Residents turn out to oppose Marine St. Memorial Mall: La Jolla Parks & Beaches board could vote on the proposal, Feb. 25" at lajollalight.com/news/sd-parks-beaches-hears-marine-memorial-mall-20190130-htmlstory.html


Who paid for The Conrad?

I really enjoyed La Jolla Light's coverage of The Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center bursting onto the local scene. Maybe the Light could tell us readers how The Conrad was funded. The cost was $82.5 million with $700,000 remaining to complete said funding. If $5 million was donated by Conrad Prebys, where did the remaining $76.8 million come from? The fact that the La Jolla Music Society was able to raise those dollars is exceptional in itself and could warrant an article on just how they did that.

Lou Cumming

Editor's Note: Indeed! Among its many blessings, La Jolla is home to hundreds of generous philanthropists who support many public endeavors — among them (thank goodness!) the arts. In his opening night remarks about The Conrad on April 5, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer praised the benefactors gathered saying they provided "a tremendous gift to the City."

A bronze lobby plaque commemorates the top financial gifts — Visionary Level: Conrad Prebys & Debbie Turner; Cornerstone Level: Stephan Baum and Brenda Baker, Joan & Irwin Jacobs, The Conrad Prebys Foundation; Principal Level: Raffaella & John Belanich; Clara Wu & Joseph Tsai; Founder Level: Rita & Richard Atkinson, The Beyster Family, Brian & Silvija Devinne, Joy Frieman, Peggy & Peter Preuss, Nona & Drew Senyei, Debbie Turner;

Benefactor Level: Una Davis Family, Lehn & Richard Goetz, Susan & Bill Hoehn, Theresa Jarvis, Helen & Keith Kim, Angelina & Fredrick Kleinbub, Sue & John Major, Arlene & Lou Navias, Paul Hastings, LLP, Haeyoung Kong Tang, Carolyne Yorston-Wellcome & Bard Wellcome;

Leader Level: Joan Jorden Bernstein, Boretto & Merrill Consulting, LLP, Karen & Jim Brailean, Martha & Ed Dennis, Lisa Braun Glazer & Jeff Glazer, Jeanne Herberger in memory of Gary Herberger, Vivian Lim & Joseph Wong, Marge & Neal Schmale, Sue & Peter Wagener, Anna & Edvard Yeung; Sponsor Level: Gordon Brodfuehrer, Wendy Brody, Elaine & Dave Darwin, Tallie & George Dennis, Diane & Elliot Feuerstein, Debby & Wainwright Fishburn, Elaine Galinson & Herb Solomon, Lee & Frank Goldberg, Kay & John Hesselink, Marina & Rafael Pastor, Betty Jo Petersen, Sylvia & Steven Ré, Jennie & Arthur Rivkin, Stacy & Don Rosenberg;

Patron Level: Virginia & Robert Black, Katherne & Dane Chapin, Barbara & Rick Charlton, Ted DeDee & Pamela Hinchman, Barbara & Dick Enberg, Jennifer & Kurt Eve, Brenda & Michael Goldbaum, Lynn Gorguze & The Hon. Scott Peters, Arthur Q. Johnson Foundation, The Nelson Family, Robin & Hank Nordhoff, Leigh P. Ryan, Sheryl & Bob Scarano, Clifford Schireson & John Venekamp, Maureen & Thomas Shiftan, Jeannette Stevens, Elizabeth Taft, Yvonne Vaucher, Marge & John Warner , Jr., Dolly & Victor Woo, Anonymous.

See the related article: "Conrad Prebys Performing Arts Center opens with some pomp, much circumstance in La Jolla" at lajollalight.com/art/music/sdljl-conrad-prebys-performing-arts-center-20190415-story.html


New bill would put fee on carbon use

We often hear that moving away from fossil fuels will hurt the economy. A recent study by Scripps Institution of Oceanography finds that phasing out fossil fuels could save 3.6 million lives per year. This contrasts significantly with this assumption, if we view human lives, health and productivity as part of economic growth. This study concludes that using sustainable energy not only reduces pollution and extreme weather, but greatly benefits human health and "will pay for itself with those savings." If we value health, fossil fuel emissions can be viewed as detrimental to us, our children, our grandchildren.

The Energy Innovation & Carbon Dividend Act (HR 763) recently introduced in the House of Representatives, endorses a fee on carbon to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels with a return of those fees as dividends to households. Ask your representatives to endorse this legislation to save lives and help the economy.

Susan Kobara



In the April 4 photo story "Village Garden Club hosts Art & Flowers Show," the artists who created "Quinn's Quilt" were misidentified. The artist is Janet Evans and the floral designer is Paula McColl.



The April 11 La Jolla Light story "Girls Lacrosse: Knights ready for rivalry against Vikings in La Jolla" contained an error. There are no middle school-aged players on the Varsity team.

See the mentioned article: "Girls Lacrosse: Knights ready for rivalry against Vikings in La Jolla" at lajollalight.com/sports/sd-lacrosse-bishops-la-jolla-high-rivalry-advance-20190409-htmlstory.html


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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