Our Readers Write: La Jollans speak out about scooters, seaweed raking and other local matters


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 matters. 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. Submissions of related photos are also welcome. Letters reflect the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of the newspaper staff or publisher.


Welcome to Scooterville, USA

The photo above was taken 7 p.m. Saturday, July 27, 2019 at the corner of Camino Del Oro and Paseo Del Ocaso in La Jolla Shores, where 13 electric scooters were sitting. People had to walk out into the street to get by them! Unbelievable to me!

Janie Emerson


Better to have some scooter corrals than chaos

Is the cure worse than the disease? After viewing the photo (pictured above) on the front page of the July 25 La Jolla Light that showed a scooter corral in Little Italy, my answer would be a resounding YES! I would much rather see a couple of scooters parked here and there, relatively unobtrusively, instead of having 40 of these eyesores on the streets in The Village.

If a couple of engaged La Jollans had not spoken up about the corrals, there would have been 80 corrals down from over 100, which were originally planned. Hasn’t The Village suffered enough with empty storefronts, dirty streets, neglected and empty planters, trash and broken pavement?

How far downhill we’ve gone in the 20-some years I have lived here was also vividly illustrated to me at the July 18 La Jolla Community Planning Association meeting. In several other instances during the last few years, I have attended the meetings where hot-button issues were being discussed. Meetings were standing-room-only with clusters of people discussing the situation on the porch — both before and after the meeting. The July 18 meeting was well attended, but there were seats for everyone. The chair cut off the discussion after a few people had spoken, despite the fact there were still many people who raised their hands and wanted to speak. What a democratic fiasco that was — quite a change from previous meetings when all were allowed to voice their opinions.

Instead of making The Village look even worse, why can’t the people making money (the City and scooter companies) have trucks pick up abandoned scooters? According to a July 25 article in The San Diego Union-Tribune, the City picked up 2,500 scooters at Comic-Con and ransomed them back to the companies. At $65 per scooter, that’s a nice haul for a few days work. La Jolla could use some of that attention instead of eyesore corrals.

Nancy Shields

— See the mentioned story, “La Jolla Community Planners vote to ‘phase in’ scooter corrals, will ask City for 40 locations,” at


La Jolla Photo of the Week

A magnificent sundown over Torrey Pines on Friday, Aug. 2.

Paul Emus


Celebrating City’s road fix

It is phenomenal that the City trenched the new concrete street on Coast South in La Jolla this spring due to a sewer leak; filled it with asphalt, and by a miracle, came back and repaired the street with concrete last week. Thank you so much, City of San Diego!

Ann Dynes


Loving many of La Jolla Light’s latest stories

La Jolla Light reporter Corey Levitan’s account in the July 25 issue about his scooter-riding experience in La Jolla was brilliant. Thank you for publishing such a comprehensive, well-written article on such a controversial subject. I feel it’s an article that could be shared with other publications in communities that have similar problems to La Jolla’s.

Also, Levitan’s “Forgotten Blast from La Jolla’s Past” article in the July 18 issue about the post-war explosion in 1945 on Gilman Drive was very interesting to me since my father was stationed at Camp Matthew and my grandmother lived in the housing on La Jolla Shores Drive.

Further kudos for “The Forgotten La Jolla Architect” story about William Kesling in that same issue, also by Levitan, which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. The “Piano Store Building” on La Jolla Boulevard was an ice cream parlor in the 1960s. I’ll never forget their strawberry ice cream, what a treat!

Rita Alanis

— See the mentioned story, “Scoot Yourself: La Jolla Light reporter takes test roll on an electric scooter,” at

— See the mentioned story, “Local Lore: Forgotten blast from La Jolla’s past,” at

— See the mentioned story, “Building a Posthumous Name: Forgotten La Jolla architect finally gets some respect,” at


Scooter-ride story was a fun read

Today, when my husband and I drove home from a swim at the Y and noticed lots of scooters everywhere, I said: “They should take a survey about what people are really using them for and publish statistics about this!”

When we got home, my husband was not ready when I called him for lunch. “I have to finish reading this article,” he said. So I asked him what it was about.

“About those scooters; someone at the Light rode one and is telling about his experiences.” I looked at the paper; “Oh, Corey Levitan! I met him last year at Pierce Kavanaugh’s gallery, when Paul (our son) was showing some of his paintings.”

Bravo on that article! It was really fun to read, and even better than just publishing statistics about scooter use. I’m writing to tell you what a great piece of work it is.

Uli Burgin

— See the mentioned story, “Scoot Yourself: La Jolla Light reporter takes test roll on an electric scooter,” at


Scooting along with danger ...

Light reporter Corey Levitan was much more fortunate than our Dallas Morning News writer who, like Corey, rode a scooter around town in order to critique the experience. Our reporter face planted on Main Street and got a visit to the hospital. These scooters are a terrible idea for everyone.

Lee Merwin

— See the mentioned story, “Scoot Yourself: La Jolla Light reporter takes test roll on an electric scooter,” at


Thumbs up on pedestrian-street idea

I love the idea of turning Girard Avenue (and Prospect Street) into a pedestrian mall, as suggested in Jordan Howard’s guest commentary in the July 25 La Jolla Light. It works in numerous European towns and cities and great in Boulder, Colorado! It’s sexy!

La Jolla is “dead” in the evening. We need to breathe a little life into “The Jewel.” I know businesses like Alfonso’s Restaurant closed because of the moribund state of downtown La Jolla at night. Look what Little Italy has become with a little vision.

I realize that no one (businesses or others) wants to lose even one parking space, but let’s not be so stuffy. Let’s perform CPR on this town.

David Marsh

— See the mentioned story, “Opinion: Vision for La Jolla’s Girard Avenue as a pedestrian street,” at


Simple scooter solution(s) for the City

If the companies are blaming their customers for scooters scattered everywhere, just require that their systems confirm the units are parked within the coordinates of a designated parking area BEFORE shutting off the customers’ pay meters. Maybe up to a maximum $50 or $100 penalty (or less if, after being notified by phone of the ongoing charges, the customer returns to park the unit appropriately). Just stick that in bold letters in their terms-of-use.

And if the companies claim they don’t have the technology to do that, then require they develop it before the City deems them ready for prime time.


Of course, this doesn’t cover what should be a total ban on riding on sidewalks, boardwalks, oceanwalks — or anywhere innocent groups of people can be mowed down from behind (even at 8 mph).

Come on, City, use some common sense! Can you spell L-I-A-B-I-L-I-T-Y? Well, plaintiffs’ attorneys can.

P.S. Check out the photograph (pictured above) I took during a recent visit to Santa Barbara. Clearly, they have different views of quality-of-life (and liability) issues there.

Peter Goldberger


Wrack rakers committed no offense at beach

The thesis of the Aug. 1 La Jolla Light story, “Wrack War: Protesters warned for raking seaweed off Children’s Pool Beach,” was that a citizen was breaking a law against removing seaweed (also called wrack) from the Children’s Pool beach. The only reference to a “law” was, in fact, not a law but rather a California Coastal Commission (CCC) staff letter to the City of San Diego in 2013 purportedly stating, in part: that seaweed is an “important food source for shore birds,” and thus, beach ‘grooming’ can have significant repercussions for the natural ecology of sandy beaches and may result in potential individual and cumulative adverse effects to coastal processes.” In other words, seaweed removal may somehow upset the balance of nature.

The first fallacy with this quote is that seabirds do NOT eat seaweed. There is a small booklet titled “Pocket Guide to Beach Birds of California” that lists 52 resident and migrating sea birds that frequent California beaches. Only one bird, the Canadian Goose, is listed as a vegetarian. They eat submerged vegetation, not wrack.

Secondly, this letter is treated as if it has the power of law. It does not. The City considers several beaches in La Jolla “natural beaches.” To the City, this simply means they do not have to spend money maintaining them. So they don’t. Giving legal regulatory stature to a letter likely written by a CCC staffer may not represent the will of the CCC members themselves. Having the City assume that it has legal stature is a questionable pretense that could have legal repercussions for the City.

David W. Valentine

— See the mentioned story, “Protesters warned for raking seaweed off Children’s Pool Beach in La Jolla,” at


Wrack rakers should be above reproach

In reference to you article about Protesters raking seaweed off the Children’s Pool.

I am so grateful to those 2 people and the lady that joined in, no one is ever going to tell me that if I take 4 or 5 children to the beach, that I can not remove seal poop, dog poop, bird poop, or any poop, to make a clean area for us to sit up camp for the day and that includes seaweed full of seal poop or not, if it is the way I will move it.

The city of San Diego use to rake all of our beaches of seaweed, they still do it in Coronado and other cities that have removed themselves from the city of San Diego.

I do not understand why the city dose not clean our beaches any more but most of all why not Children’s Pool where the city invited the seals in to come and poop and throw up and give birth and get buried there, what a nice experience for a child to be digging to make a sand castle and dig into a dead seal, this is insane, why would you invite the seals to have there own private time at the man-made pool and then give the children a turn at there own pool, with not having the decency, to clean it for them? it is worse than asking children to sit in a litter box has everyone lost their minds what happened to commonsense?

Seals have thousands of miles to go I believe there are only 2 man-made pools in California, why do this in a MAN-MADE Pool?

The original deal with the city which I never thought was legal was to change Ellen Scripps Trust, can you imagine changing the trust of the founder of our community, changing her gift to the community by building a man-made pool for children and diving and fishing, and the city accepted the gift and promised to maintain this gift and never have, they now need to open the gates in the wall that are there to clean the pool or create new gates, the reason for the gates is the man that built the wall said I can not build this without gates to flush it, as you will end up with a hill of sand, a beach not a pool, where you come down the stairs and are wading in the ocean, so we now have a beach and it should be a pool so the city needs to do its job and clean the pool for the heath and safety of the public.

When the trust was changed it was changed to just include seals in with the other 3 things that were going on at the pool, swimming, diving, fishing just adding looking at seals not giving the pool to the seals for months to take over and close children out, just to look at them seals with all those other 3 things going on I experienced that, as some times we would go to the pool and see seals on the rock by the wall.

It is time for the city that invited the seals to clean up after them!

Beside all that, between 2 and 3 thousand people come every day according to the lifeguards, wonder why it is hard to park? The city gave the public a free Sea World and not one parking space, you need 2 spaces to open a coffee shop, and all this is done at our expense. Sometimes I think perhaps the city dose not care about us.

Melinda Merryweather

— See the mentioned story, “Protesters warned for raking seaweed off Children’s Pool Beach in La Jolla,” at


Wrack rakers are as wrack rakers do

In last week’s Light about the person cited for clearing seaweed from the Children’s Pool Beach, it was stated that one needs a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) to remove seaweed from a beach. If that is the case, then you should check to see if the hotels along the beach have a CDP to remove seaweed from the beach in front of their building as they do every morning. If not, then they are just as much in violation of the rules as the person who tried to clean up the Children’s Pool Beach and should also be cited.

Pamela Maher

— See the mentioned story, “Protesters warned for raking seaweed off Children’s Pool Beach in La Jolla,” at


Was report on building signs/murals one-sided?

As a business owner, I feel that last two articles in the Light about The Village murals are very one-sided. There was no contact with our business whatsoever regarding the articles. Our business, The Branding Iron, Inc., has had our name on our building wall since the late 1970s. We have nothing to do with the mural that was painted in the last year or so, and so we should not be “lumped in” with these articles or with any code enforcement. We have many local and loyal customers including La Jolla High School, The Bishop’s School. All Hallows Academy, Las Patronas, El Pescador, Windansea Surf Club, UCSD Cancer Luau, and many, many more.

We work hard to serve our community!

Doug Moranville

Editor’s Note: The reason this business was mentioned in the stories about Village murals is because it was among those cited by name as an example of having a mural that could be considered an advertisement. And further, the La Jolla Community Planning Association voted to include the business in its request for Code Compliance Review, along with NINE-TEN, McLaren and The Conrad. The mentioning of these businesses was to report the facts from the meeting, and was not to cast a judgment on any of them.

— See the mentioned article, “La Jolla Community Planners find four Village ‘murals’ to be ‘signs,’” at


Don’t mess with Medicare Part D

I’m a retired physician and NIH researcher. For years, my job was to discover how disease processes work to help drive development of new medicines. I felt I was doing good work advancing therapies and cures to address the health conditions that destroy lives and families.

Because medications are so important in combating disease, I supported bringing prescription drug coverage into Medicare. Now we must protect the program from dangerous changes.

The most damaging would be to abandon the free market and tie Medicare prescription drug payments to price controls in other countries. This conflicts with Medicare Part D’s mission to increase seniors’ access to medicine. When Canadians can obtain only about half the advanced cancer treatments available in the United States, it’s clear the Canadian solution for health care shouldn’t be adopted here.

I formerly served as a science advisor to a member of Congress. This letter is my advice to today’s congressional delegation. Medicare Part D may benefit from some adjustments to enhance affordability, but the U.S. and its seniors — including myself at 87 years old! — cannot afford radical changes to the program.

Tom Edington


No, that was NOT Warren Buffet in La Jolla

A friend of mine, whose parents live in La Jolla, brought the “La Jolla Lore” article to me (and my dad, Warren Buffett) that was recently in the Light. I’m sorry to burst the bubble, but the man that Carla Ann Parra of the Little Vitamin Shop was talking to was not my dad. He hasn’t been to La Jolla in years (like 40), has never owned a home there and would never ever advise someone to buy Berkshire stock. He also doesn’t own a fedora — or any hat.

My dad looks like an average old guy, so I’m not surprised that someone thought they spotted him. I see plenty of old guys that could easily be his double. It’s an easy mistake to make. But it’s important to know that my dad would not tell anyone to buy any specific stock — and especially not Berkshire. So if people find it difficult to believe that Carla Ann met my dad, they’re right!

Enjoy La Jolla — it’s a beautiful place to live and visit.

Susie Buffett

— See the mentioned story, “Local Lore: You never know who you’ll meet in La Jolla!” at


La Jolla Library needs book-sale volunteers

Kudos to the Light for the stories about the La Jolla Riford Library and its many activities. The coverage is bringing many new patrons into the library who have yet to discover the Friends of the Library Bookshop. We are regularly garnering almost $4,000 a month in book sales, doubling the revenue from just three years ago. All the money goes to support La Jolla and many other library branches throughout the City. Donations have increased, with some families bringing in several boxes of books, CDs and DVDs from their homes.

All this has led to needing more volunteers to help sort, clean, and price our expanding collection. Perhaps among book-loving readers there are those who would like to assist in the shop’s success? We are always looking for talented volunteers who could give a few hours a week to this grand venture. Anyone interested can text me at (858) 242-8173.

Jim Stewart; Manager, Friends of the Library Book Shop


Community invited to Kiwanis meetings

We have excellent speakers coming to address the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla meetings in August. Kiwanis is an international organization dedicated to serving the needs of young children. Members of the community are welcome to attend.

The meetings begin at noon and end at 1:30 p.m., Fridays. Meetings include lunch, brief Club business and the speaker presentation. The lunch is $15 per person. For more information, contact Craig Bratlien at or (858) 945-2280.

• Aug. 16: Hear San Diego County Assessor and Tax Collector Ernest J. Dronenburg, Jr. in the social hall of La Jolla Presbyterian Church, 7715 Draper Ave.

• Aug. 23: Hear La Jolla Historical Society Director Heath Fox at the La Jolla Community Center, 6811 La Jolla Blvd.

Suzanne Weiner


Tipping a privilege for those with affluence

I am responding to th Aug. 1 Guest Commentary, “Tipping and government regulation is out of hand.” Instead of feeling peer pressure and resentment about tipping a waiter at a fancy seaside restaurant during these times of prosperity for many of us, we need to look at factual issues beyond our own personal interest.

Looking outside of ourselves, we can observe that there is an overall income inequality in this country and most in this country cannot afford eating at a fancy seaside restaurant in Del Mar. The money spent on that one meal mentioned in the Commentary is more than millions of Americans make in a week.

Issues like lack of government oversight and bailouts for Wall Street, including government-funded bonuses to stock brokers during the great recession, are worth being offended by. Unaffordable healthcare for millions, dangerous climate changes and an out-of-control national deficit and debt due to irresponsible monetary policies are subjects that are worth being offended by and not the suggested amount of a tip.

If the food and tip is too expensive, simply go to another restaurant. In addition, tip what you think is appropriate, peer pressure be damned. The fact is, most of us that live here can afford and be grateful to have dinner at a fancy restaurant and tip well without complaint. We live in this bubble called La Jolla. A little generosity and gratitude makes the experience of living here, and life itself, all the more “sweeter.”

Robert Skip George

— See the mentioned story, “Opinion: Tipping and government regulation are out of hand,” at


So that’s how the sky-rise got built ...

Thank you for the Aug. 1 Light article on the 939 Coast Blvd. building. I have long wondered how that monstrosity got built, and you have confirmed my assumption that something terrible happened that went against the wishes of the people of La Jolla. It doesn’t matter to me one bit how many wealthy people it attracted to La Jolla, or what they have done for the town since arriving. It is a mammoth eyesore that offends me every time I have to look at it, and the only real solution to the problem it creates is for it to be knocked down at the first opportunity.

Deborah Lancaster

— See the mentioned story, “How this La Jolla high-rise got built: 18-story 939 Coast Blvd. building leads to coastal-height limit,” at


Scooters and housing density hurt San Diego

Why is it that people who’ve lived here 20 years — or even less than five years — want to come to San Diego and change it? This isn’t Europe nor the East Coast.

I cannot imagine taking a bike, scooter or trolley half way across this City to shop or see a doctor. Outsiders seem to want us to stay put in our small neighborhoods and not enjoy what the entire City has to offer.

Developers are even worse. They make money to jam people into this City and then take their money home to another state.

The very worse has become the Coastal Commission, with too many variances allowed to cater to developers. The height limit is 30 feet, but soon there will be six-story hotels on Shelter Island.

I do not want San Diego to become like Europe or Miami. Fellow citizens, let’s fight all the above or remove “Finest” from our City title.

Jeslyn Grokoest


Tarnishing Our Jewel: Say good-bye to scenes like this!

Here is another photo (pictured above) of the pitiful conditions in our Village after a busy summer weekend. But there is help coming. If all goes as planned, the La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) will soon provide supplemental trash pickup on weekends. This effort should mitigate the problems we’ve endured for the past several years regarding overflowing trash receptacles and general litter on our streets and sidewalks.

And, this is but one area of focus for the MAD. Power-washing sidewalks and trash receptacles, and landscape maintenance are additional services the MAD will provide. Anticipated start date: Oct. 1, 2019.

John Unbewust; District Manager, La Jolla MAD


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. Submissions of related photos are also welcome. Letters reflect the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of the newspaper staff or publisher.