Our Readers Write: La Jollans speak out about crazy drivers and worsening traffic, ‘independent’ La Jolla, short-term vacation rentals and more local issues
Our Readers Write / Opinion / Letters to the Editor:
Letters to the Editor from the Aug. 2, 2018 issue of La Jolla Light as La Jollans speak out on local issues:
Wild, Wild Parkway: Every motorist for himself?
••• I want to share this traffic dilemma in hopes of drawing attention to a potentially dangerous situation. Over the past couple of years, as the traffic along Torrey Pines Road and the La Jolla Parkway corridor has gotten worse and worse, more people have discovered the backroad to take down Azure Coast Drive. When the traffic light was installed by the new Ziana condominiums, it only compounded the issue and had traffic backed up even more.
Now, people try to avoid the traffic on La Jolla Parkway by using this back road. When it gets clogged up by the Ziana complex, people get impatient and start driving over the center divider and sometimes form two lanes on the wrong side of the road (See picture above).
Not only were we stopped here for 20 minutes right in front of our house (after almost getting in a head-on collision), but if an ambulance or firetruck tried to leave the fire station, it would not be able to get out.
This is happening more frequently now and it’s just a matter of time before someone gets in a serious accident or someone can’t get help because a firetruck and/or ambulance is trapped.
My neighbors and I would love for you to post something in the paper to help draw attention to this.
••• I assume that when the City was distributing traffic lights, all the dumb ones were given to La Jolla.
Usually, I leave for work very early in the morning, and no matter how early and even when there is no traffic, the lights turn red (and often the pedestrian lights turn green for nobody). Not to mention there are some useless “No turn on red” signs where there are no blind spots for oncoming traffic.
And as a tip to our finest, please send an officer somewhere in La Jolla Scenic Drive North to catch those whose time is more valuable than the rest of us, and who drive from La Jolla Parkway, make an illegal U-turn then force their way back onto the Parkway, or worse yet, make a left turn onto Hidden Valley Road.
More support for an independent La Jolla
Exactly one year ago, I composed the following letter to the editor. Feeling hopeless, I never bothered submitting it. However, since then, things have only gotten worse. So after reading the recent comments from Melinda Merryweather and Sunny Jim, I hereby jump on their bandwagon by belatedly offering my own two cents:
Browsing through the Light last week, reading about all that’s wrong with our community, I couldn’t avoid a recurring thought: Might it be time to re-visit the “incorporation” issue?
It seems that every problem listed — parking, dirty sidewalks, Parkway noise, disgusting trash bins, pathetic road conditions, thoughtless construction projects, seal poop, STVR’s, and the list goes on — stem from a lack of interest, and shockingly long stretches of inaction, by the City.
I’ve lived, played and practiced law in La Jolla for the better part of 45 years. If anyone doesn’t think our quality of life has deteriorated dramatically (and continues to do so), they live in a fantasy world.
We often drive through small incorporated cities in the state — much less affluent places like Long Beach or Burbank — and instantly notice how much nicer they maintain their streets, sidewalks and business districts compared to La Jolla. Yes, we may have location and less crime, but it’s sad and embarrassing to note the obvious infrastructure quality difference.
I recognize the arguments against incorporating — concerns over tax base, laws requiring city-wide approval, etc. — that come up each time the subject is broached. But if the good people of Del Mar , Poway, Carlsbad , Solana Beach and Encinitas could pull it off, surely the smart, innovative and influential residents and business owners of La Jolla could, too!
Isn’t it at least worth discussing (again)? Just browse through the countless complaints in any issue of the Light, then imagine the same conversation if we controlled our own destiny. Better still, visit the streets and villages of, say, Del Mar or Carlsbad and compare those to ours.
Short-term rental vote disappointing
Based on all the rhetoric surrounding short-term rentals, every guest to San Diego is going to destroy the neighborhood. However, I’ve seen the benefits of Airbnb. My cousin fit our entire family under one roof instead of renting four hotel rooms for her wedding guests. My friends and I were able to afford a trip we wouldn’t have otherwise taken. My family rents out a home in order to help pay for tuition, mortgages and other expenses. Short-term rentals are not necessarily bad.
I agree that short-term rentals should be regulated. But I don’t believe in action for the sake of action. San Diego has passed perhaps the most restrictive regulations short of a complete ban (why not model after Tahoe? Monterey?), with City Council members targeting their own constituents (such as my family, who are not investors) to do so. This bad regulation will adversely impact the economy, visitors, and more importantly, families who are responsibly renting and depend on this income.
The primary residence only clause hurts local families without reason and is frankly inefficient. Why not restrict based on who is renting or number of rental days/rentals/guests? I’m disappointed by these regulations, which show San Diego as hostile to not just visitors, but also its own residents.
Car show could pay for La Jolla fireworks and concerts
Here’s an idea to consider: Let the spring La Jolla Concours d’Elegance Car Show pay for the fireworks and the summer park concerts. The car show takes over Scripps Park in La Jolla for 2.5 days, preventing access to people who would ordinarily use it. So it would be appropriate to for organizers to donate money to provide entertainment for those people on other days.
Water bill fiasco serves as reminder
I am very pleased to find that the La Jolla Light lives on. I was a UC San Diego student for four quarters from 1967 to 1969. If anyone has seen the huge anchor in the outdoor quad, south of the UCSD Revelle cafeteria, east of Argo Hall, that structure is partly my contribution to the campus, accomplished in spring 1968. After 50 years, the anchor probably has had 15 coats of paint. The 1,500-pound ship’s anchor was lifted from its desolate abandoned area on the old Camp Mathews in the middle of the night and dropped off in the quad at 3 a.m. when the night watchman was on break. I had eight accomplices that night, and luckily, my dad’s borrowed Chevy pickup didn’t break an axle with the tremendous weight.
Why did we do it? Partly from boredom with our studies, and partly to create our very own prank and memorial, while we resided there. We chose the anchor because it meshed with the Triton mascot theme, and because we were tired of having a much smaller anchor stolen multiple times from the Pacific Southwest Airlines fountain in the central Revelle Plaza.
I have other anecdote, completely unrelated, but relevant to San Diego’s recent big blunder with water meter overcharges. I lived for 17 years in the little hamlet of San Jacinto, Riverside County, while I worked for the Eastern Municipal Water District. At the water district, I learned that one unit of water, or 100 cubic feet, equals 748 gallons. After living in San Jacinto for eight years, the city did a complete meter change-out and my water charges jumped.
I then decided to check the water meter feeding my home for accuracy. I first calibrated a five-gallon bucket to the nearest 8-ounce cup. Then I noted the digits on my particular meter, which would be the pretest “read.” I then drew 10 buckets of water, at 5 gallons each, for a total of 50 gallons. The meter digital read, should have advanced by 6.7 units, since meters can measure 1 cubic foot of water, while only the digits to the nearest 100 cubic feet, are recorded for billing purposes.
Because this happened 30 years ago, I don’t recall what the actual meter reading was, but I recall that the reading was at least 20 percent too high. I reported this to the city water department, gave the city a deposit for $13 to remove and check my meter, and waited for the results. The San Jacinto Water Department confirmed that my meter was reading too high and replaced it with another meter. They also refunded one month of estimated overcharged water (which was pretty chintzy) so I decided to check the new meter, too.
The new meter also proved to be reading significantly higher than the true consumption. After that second infraction and insult from the city’s flawed water metering, I wrote a letter to every one of the sitting city council members, admonishing both the water department and the city’s lack of oversight for water metering accuracy. I checked the meters a few times after that, the meters were finally accurate.
Gerald Lance Johannsen, Carlsbad
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