Our Readers Write: La Jollans speak out on red-light cameras, banning leaf blowers, trash on sidewalks, airplane noise, seals at Children’s Pool and more local topics


Our Readers Write / Opinion / Letters to the Editor:

Letters to the Editor from the Aug. 23 and Aug. 30, 2018 issues of La Jolla Light as La Jollans speak out on local issues:


Time to bring back red-light cameras

Has anyone else noticed that motorists are more frequently driving through red lights in La Jolla? Several intersections stand out: La Jolla Parkway at Hidden Valley Road, La Jolla Village Drive at Villa La Jolla Drive, and Villa La Jolla Drive at Nobel. Virtually every time I stop at one of these intersections, at least one car blasts through the red, usually followed by several “me toos.”

Red light cameras are proven to limit and discourage such dangerous behavior, especially when coupled to hefty fines. They have been legal in California for more than 20 years, are widely used around the state, supplement the police, and the best part — they pay for themselves.

So why don’t we have them here? Well, we did for a long time, from 1999 until 2013, when Mayor Bob Filner decided to take them down. He said it was because many violators were tourists — he didn’t want them to have a bad experience when visiting our city. I am sure we all can see the flaw in that logic.

I think it’s time to put these cameras up again; they will make our streets safer.

Ted Haas


Villagers: Grab a bag for morning trash patrol

My morning walk takes me down Girard Avenue. As I watch for raised cracks in the sidewalks, I take deep breaths and try to get my brain into a peaceful meditative place. Instead, I get upset by all the trash I see along the way. So this morning, I took a large plastic grocery bag and a leather gardening glove and picked up some of the garbage tangled in the dry weeds lining the empty shops with “For Lease” signs in their windows.

It didn’t take long and it was good exercise and I’ll do it again tomorrow. Since Girard Avenue is a major through-way, I’m sure some of my lady friends saw me and thought “Poor dear, picking up trash, she’s finally lost it.” But I’m old now and I don’t care.

What I do care about is how dirty and neglected our charming Village has become. Locals all talk about it and expect the City to do something, but nothing gets done. So I hope my little story inspires another old lady (or old man) to skip their Zumba class one morning, grab a plastic bag and gardening glove and pick up the paper cups, plastic utensils and take-out containers that line our lovely streets. It takes a Village.

Alicia Quackenbush


Seals don’t belong at La Jolla Children’s Pool

Thank you, thank you Melinda Merryweather for your letter to the editor in the Aug. 16 issue. I absolutely agree that the Children’s Pool was dedicated to human beings and not to seals. The Children’s Pool was given to the children of La Jolla by Ellen Browning Scripps. My family moved to La Jolla in 1956, when I was still a young child, and I learned how to swim there. It was a beautiful experience. That children of the present and future — and adults, of course — should be deprived of this experience with no justification is disturbing.

Presently, I am editor/owner of Plays International & Europe, a theater magazine produced in Luxembourg and published in Britain. When I come back to La Jolla to visit, I’m always saddened to see how commercial-minded and cynical, people’s attitudes are toward the seals’ theft of the public beaches intended for humans.

The young lifeguard I questioned about this at the Children’s Pool last week admitted to having absolutely no knowledge about the bacterial count of the water there. She told me (with no regard for the potential dangers people might experience by doing so) that children were welcomed to swim among the seals, obviously, she had no sympathy for the history of that body of water.

Humans, children of La Jolla and visitors from far and wide: reclaim your beach!

Dr. Dana Rufolo


Accentuate the positive, people!

Though I didn’t realize it at the time, I had the good fortune of growing up in La Jolla. My parents still live in the same house and I bring my kids down a few times a year to splash in the waves, enjoy the parks and get a great Bird Rock Coffee Roasters latte.

Reading the comments in the La Jolla Light during my latest visit was disappointing. There are many places just in Southern California with worse noise, worse traffic, and no ocean in sight. Some of them even have La Jolla pricetags!

It got me to thinking maybe I need to spend less time focusing on the unique downsides of the city my kids are growing up in, and more on the good sides. Try to emulate the nostalgia of people who grew up here. I hope the residents of La Jolla can see the town the way I do — it’s still a sparkling gem.

Hilary Petrizzo


More support for a leaf-blower ban

• I’d like to second Nancy Linke Patton’s suggestion in the Aug. 16 La Jolla Light issue that an attempt be made to pass a local ordinance banning leaf-blower machines in La Jolla. Many other cities, such as Laguna Beach and Beverly Hills have done so successfully.

Not only are they sources of unregulated air pollution, but one aspect no one seems to mention is the obnoxious noise they make — especially in neighborhoods where most of the houses on the street have all scheduled their use during the week as part of their landscape maintenance. One is bad enough, but where I live in La Jolla, often several are operating at the same time during the day, and they are a constant and annoying buzzing sound from early in the morning until late in the day — effectively ruining the peaceful ambiance many of us came here to enjoy.

Noise pollution doesn’t get as much press as air pollution, but can impact quality of life just as much.

Mike Bear

• Just wanted to add our names to support the views of recent letter-writers regarding the noise and air pollution from leaf-blowers. We’re sure there’s much that could be done. If not a total ban, then certainly restrictions in use.

Otto and Sharon Steinbronn

• I totally agree with the letter writers about the noise, dust and pollution from leaf-blowers in our neighborhoods. The people I hire for a spring cleanup use a broom and dustbin and I do the same anytime I trim trees and bushes. This takes minimum effort and no more time than a noisy leaf blower. I also use an electric lawn mower that is very quiet to cut my small patch of grass. There is no reason to use a blower other than laziness. Their use should be banned in La Jolla.

Jack Resnick


Why 45 minutes of early morning plane noise?

This morning (Thursday, Aug. 16), I was abruptly awakened by a small plane circling around my neighborhood. From about 1:45 a.m. to just after 2:30 a.m., I counted 56 times that this plane circled from Pearl to Eads to Silver to Draper. It was very noisy and flashed a bright light in my bedroom window every time it passed by.

I was unable to sleep for many hours after it finally left because of the lingering stench of exhaust and from being shaken up. I am unsure how well I will be able to function today. No doubt the whole neighborhood experienced the same thing. This is not the first time this has happened — the time before that, was early Tuesday morning. We shouldn’t have to put up with this horrific situation anymore!

Susan H.


A lesson on using roundabouts

Roundabouts — including those in Bird Rock — are great facilitators of traffic flow. While this is common sense, I would nevertheless like to remind everyone that vehicles already in the roundabout have the right-of-way, bicycles included. I’ve nearly been hit a few times by drivers too eager to enter.

Please be cautious when approaching and pay special attention to anyone turning left. We will all get to our destinations in time, so let’s take it easy.

Bird Rock cyclist


Harbor seals at Children’s Pool are gift from Mother Nature

I could not help but be saddened by Ms. Merryweathers’ latest letter in La Jolla Light. If Ellen Browning Scripps could have elaborated on the question regarding the harbor seals in La Jolla, she would no doubt have been the first to say: “Melinda my dear, the concrete breakwater that I had built in La Jolla in 1931, served a purpose at that time. But times have changed, and so must we. La Jolla now has thousands of swimming pools in homes, schools, apartments and condo complexes. Organizations, like the YMCAs, provide excellent public pools where children can to learn how to swim in a clean and safe environment. There were none of these available in 1931.”

The Village of La Jolla has been abundantly blessed with many natural wonders, among them La Jolla Cove, Torrey Pines State Park and a truly wonderful Marine Mammal Rookery. Many visitors to America’s Finest City fortunate enough to visit “The Pool” at the 800 block of Coast Boulevard have been delighted to view a group of wild animals in their natural habitat. In our fast-paced world, it is a welcome diversion to watch these graceful creatures move gently in and out of the ocean and rest contentedly on the beach. To co-exist so closely with another species is indeed a rare privilege.

This 300-foot sanctuary is ecotourism at its finest and a community treasure. I’m ashamed that there is a vocal minority in our town who wants to destroy this priceless gift of nature. San Diego County has over 60 beaches. It also has a 385,440-foot coastline. Can’t we allow the seals to have 300 feet? After all, we have already seized, polluted and destroyed much of their habitat.

I’d like to quote a friend of mine, Virginia McKenna, co-founder of The Born Free Foundation, who writes in her book “Into the Blue”:

“We can no longer pass through paradise in a dream. It is vanishing before our eyes and at our hands. Before it is gone forever, we must try to rekindle a spiritual awareness, try to recapture a forgotten innocence and put ourselves into our true perspective as sharers of the Earth, as compassionate protectors, not as masters.”

Florence Lambert


Correction — Setting the record straight in the article: ‘Visualize a beautiful planet’

I recently came upon an article in the La Jolla Light by Will Bowen about an ocean-centric environmental talk I gave at UC San Diego this summer. While I appreciate the coverage of my talk (heaven knows we need more media attention on these issues), I’m concerned because it contained many significant misstatements attributed to me that were definitely not what I stated in my talk. Our environment, the public, my reputation and credibility all deserve better.

I realize the facts, sources, numbers, etc., were coming fast and furiously during the presentation, but it’s vitally important to represent these things accurately. There are already way too many misconceptions on these issues. Also, unlike the article’s claim, I don’t make predictions or claims — ever. I reference long-established, highly-esteemed, very credible scientific sources. That’s why I’m asked to speak to institutions like UC San Diego, San Diego Naval Base, San Diego State University, the San Diego Botanic Gardens docents, Sierra Club, faith-based groups, NGOs, etc.

The article states that I’m a Congressional liaison on climate (not a consultant). I was a San Diego County Fish & Wildlife Advisory Commissioner (not a consultant). I said there are 43 offshore oil and gas “leases” in the Federal water off the California Coast, not “leaks” (although leaks do occur).

And I never said we have only a dog’s lifetime left to exist. I said I’d be talking about real-time current climate effects that are happening now and in the near future — “in your dog’s lifetime,” rather than focusing on effects expected in 2100. I said: “Visualize a healthy planet” (not a beautiful one) because it’s not a lack of beauty that’s the problem, it’s the degradation of our environment that’s at issue. The reporter’s references to the extreme weather statistics I presented are not what I cited.

Regarding the reporter’s comment to me on Bluefin tuna quoting the Sportfishing Association chief: “In San Diego there are lots of Bluefin around here,” that gentleman knows better because the amount he’s legally allowed to catch has been reduced from 10 per day to two per day. The problem exists far beyond “around here,” and over-fishing is a big part of the problem.

My husband is a recreational fisherman and he’s noticed the changes over the years — as have the boat captains he fishes with.

But personal opinion isn’t the same as factual evidence. Here’s the actual text from my slide presentation: “Pacific Bluefin tuna has plunged 97 percent since the 1970s. Conservation groups have urged consumers to avoid eating the highly endangered fish.” Among my sources are the Center for Biological Diversity and scores of international scientific institutions.

FYI, here are some of my notes on that subject: The International Scientific Committee for Tuna and Tuna-Like Species in the North Pacific Ocean, reveals that most of the recent catch has been composed of juvenile fish — that is, those too young to reproduce. The Pacific Bluefin Tuna is one of the most valuable fish in the world. As sardines, herring and other prey move into different waters in response to global warming, the pelagic Bluefin tuna need to build up the energy reserves needed to make the long journey to their spawn grounds.

This stress factor comes at a time when the Bluefin tuna is already severely threatened by over-fishing. More than nine out of 10 of the species recently caught were too young to have reproduced, meaning they may have been the last generation of the Bluefin tuna.

I urge readers to visit my website and connect with the many esteemed groups working to improve the health of our oceans.

Eve Simmons


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.