Our Readers Write: La Jollans share their views on overflowing trash cans, legal fight over MAD, airplane noise, homeless people and more topics

Our Readers Write / Opinion / Letters to the Editor:

Letters to the Editor from the Feb. 22, 2018 issue of La Jolla Light as La Jollans speak out on local issues:


Trash in Village continues to aggravate merchants

Look at these photographs taken at 1:20 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17 on Girard Avenue. It is very disappointing to see the neglect with which City Services treats our Village neighborhood. I am certain that somewhere in City government there’s a calendar. The trash cans should have been emptied on Friday, or if not then, certainly today! The cans will not be emptied until Tuesday (after Presidents’ Day weekend), so you know the area around them will be overflowing with trash and garbage. In one picture, you see merchants taking matters into their own hands. Who is in charge of such poor planning? — Gerhard Bendl


Sad pity business group is fighting the Maintenance Assessment District (MAD)

Since Lincoln Foster and his fellow Village property owners (known as the La Jolla Benefits Association, LLC), have made their position clear, it is time we, La Jolla citizens, fight back. These landlords are more than happy to make money off their commercial real estate in The Village, yet they refuse to do their part and help pay for additional cleaning and sprucing of The Village. They have filed a lawsuit to block the La Jolla Village Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) from beginning its great and much-needed work to restore our town back to a “Jewel.”

If anyone needs proof of how much of an improvement a MAD can make to an area, just look at what the Bird Rock commercial district is today. It went from a run down set of shops that were not walk-able to a beautiful set of storefronts and streets that welcome visitors to park and shop.

The Village MAD was voter-approved (last fall) in a fair, legal election. It is ridiculous that a few wealthy landowners can deny the will of the majority of the voters — and all because they don’t want to help pay to clean and maintain the very area that they own and manage and benefit from!

I feel it’s now time for the voters and La Jolla citizens to fight back with our wallets. Since these opponents feel their small, annual MAD fee was too much of a burden, we need to hit them where it counts. We need to know who is part of the La Jolla Benefits Association LLC, so we can boycott their businesses. Furthermore, we can lend spend our money with those Village businesses that support the MAD and are happy to help fund a clean and vibrant Village. — Terrence Schmidt


Homeless issue requires compassion, not anger

How shocked and disheartened I was after reading the letter in the Feb. 15 La Jolla Light issue regarding the “homeless.” Geez! If the worst thing that happens to somebody is that they suffer the “tragedy” of having to avoid a person shouting from across the street and then writing a letter to the local newspaper, they are truly blessed. The writer describes having a “terrible encounter” with a homeless person who shouted at her from across the street. And she did the right thing, tactfully avoiding the man before asking a person at Pannikin Café to call the police. Lifeguards also witnessed this morning event, called the police, and waited for them to arrive. Upon “later reflection,” she states: “This was nothing short of a tragedy.”

Really? A tragedy? It is a modern-day reality and we must act appropriately with some degree of understanding and compassion. She continues: “Calling these people ‘homeless’ makes them seem like victims.” They are victims any way you slice it. From time to time, I’ve had to use my smarts to avoid an unfortunate soul’s shouts from across the street. The tragedy is not mine, it is his/hers, and I think, “There but for the grace of God go I.” The writer prefers to describe people caught in homelessness as “bums” “addicts” and “lunatics.”

She says the homeless “do not need a meal or money handed to them as they sit on the sidewalk.” Her solution? Take away their freedom. Law enforcement should busy themselves with “picking up vagrants” even if they refuse because they should “lose their freedom” to take care of themselves. I highly disagree. Society must find logical, compassionate and effective solutions to homelessness.

La Jolla is not immune, nor should it be. We must seek to understand the complexity of the problem and come up with a humane approach to help those in need. Let us not refer to the homeless with blatantly disparaging monikers or enact the “policy change” some propose. Instead, let’s step up to alleviate the situation and thank God for sparing us from addiction, homelessness and “lunacy.” — Pilar Cárdenas-Gimber


In defense of aircraft flying over La Jolla

I read with interest the letter last week, in which a resident complains of “continuous noise” from small aircraft using Montgomery Field in Kearny Mesa (recently renamed Montgomery-Gibbs Executive Airport). He claims to have personally counted 250 to 400 flights per day, most of them “flying low and loud.” I question this claim because I have lived under the same flight path for more than 25 years and have not had anywhere near the same experience. Yes, general aviation planes overfly my home every day, but very few are “low” or “loud.”

First, these aircraft generally fly above 3,200 feet while crossing La Jolla, this is not “low” by any means (it’s over half-a-mile high). Two years after the PSA flight 192 crash, the FAA implemented Terminal Control Area in San Diego airspace, which restricted general aviation to a very narrow corridor when departing Montgomery Field to the west. These planes are required to be above 3,200 feet and below 4,800 feet, and generally north of Mt. Soledad in order to head north along the coast.

Second, Montgomery Field electronically monitors and records the noise from departing aircraft. Those exceeding the noise limits can be cited and fined. By the time they cross I-805 they are not to exceed 60 decibels measured at the ground. This noise level has been scientifically determined to be consistent with housing, and not, as the letter-writer claims, destructive of “peace and quiet.”

Finally, aircraft operations at Montgomery have actually decreased over the past 40 years (from an average of 960 per day down to 550 per day). La Jolla is less than 10 miles from three major airports — they are not new, having been in place for 68 to 90 years, so very few us can say we moved here reasonably expecting never to hear a plane fly over.

Aviation is part of our area’s heritage — from Charles Lindberg to Top Gun — and it is here to stay. Over those years, the industry has made great strides in reducing the noise from aircraft, from far quieter engines to implementing noise abatement procedures for commercial and private flights over urban areas. It only makes sense, if you are sensitive to noise, don’t move near an airport (or a railroad track for that matter). — Ted Haas


There’s a correct way to dispose of meds

I love reading Inga’s columns and look forward to them in La Jolla Light every week. However, in her column of Feb. 15, she made a questionable statement. One should never flush medications down the toilet. Even though sewage is treated, many of these medications (or their active metabolites) go through the treatment process basically unchanged and are discharged with the treated water into the ocean or used as “gray water” on land. These substances can adversely affect the marine life food chain up to, and including, humans or, depending upon what the “gray water” is used for, the land-based food chain.

To get rid of outdated, unused or unwanted medications: If there is a medication disposal or take-back program in your area, bring them in; if not, dispose of them in coffee grounds, kitty litter or some similar substance. — IB


Life lessons learned from soccer league play

What does soccer mean to me? If you asked me this two years ago, the answer would have been totally different from how I feel now. Two years ago my answer would have been: “I love playing soccer because being on a team means friendship, support and absolute freedom from stress. Soccer is fun, it means being outdoors, and most of all having someone who was not one of my parents building me up. Someone I could depend on — a coach!”

But, this season my coach hated me! He used words like “useless,” “disaster” and “insecure,” when he’d speak to me or about me. This made me very angry and feeling super bad about myself, and questioning my love for the game. The coach intimidated me and my teammates. Some of them cried, some of them left the team, some of them have left the sport completely. I knew this was wrong, so I had to dig in my cleats and continue to go to every game and practice, and never quit and give in. If I quit, he won.

My mom kept saying, “You have to love the sport more than you dislike him.” But how could this be possible? There was nothing that I disliked more than him.

As the painful season went on I wanted to quit. I kept thinking: “Why is he doing this? People love me!” So many nights I’d sit and wonder what it was that the coach didn’t like about me? One night it all came together. Coach hated all the things that make me, me. He hated my spirit, my power, my mad foot skills, and my ability to get the ball in the goal even if he gave away my position. I figured he was unhappy in his life and was taking it out on me.

I couldn’t let him extinguish who I was. I wanted nothing from him but for him to get out of my face and give me the personal space I deserve. I spent hours wondering how could take back the control he wanted so badly. One evening, I realized that I did love soccer more than I disliked him. I knew I could do this. I had to ignore all his glares, mean words, and the anger he targeted at me. “I am strong, I can do this,” I would tell myself.

I finished my season on my terms. I learned how to deal with negative people and still come out feeling good about myself. I learned never to give up and back down from someone who is trying to break your spirit or intimidate you. You don’t look for approval from others, you look inside yourself to find the confidence and positive words.

Soccer now means being my own No. 1 fan if I win, lose or tie. Showing up and always trying my best. I hope other players, who experience something like I did, will turn to their families and friends for support. You must have compassion for people, even if they are being awful to you. People treat you how you let them, so set boundaries and don’t allow anyone to cross the line you set.

I tried out for new clubs and I was picked up by a great team. I’m leaving the old club behind, but I am taking with me my strength, my perseverance, my power, my ability to get the soccer ball into the goal, and my will to never give up or quit. I’m taking my season, not the coach’s. I hope he has learned from his behavior. — “Forward” Moving Player



• In the Feb. 15 story, “Todd Gloria delivers bold message at Town Council forum,” San Diego Police Sgt. Bryan Brecht is quoted as stating that, out of 6,000 homeless people interacted with by San Diego police in 2017, only 15 accepted services. The number of interactions was 1,600, not 6,000, and it was only for Northern Division. The Light regrets the error.

• A News Nugget in the Feb. 15 issue mentions that UCSD will be the third University of California campus to sell the Plan B pill through vending machines. It was incorrectly stated that Plan B is an “abortion pill.” However, Julie Gollin, M.D. contacted the Light to say Plan B is not an “abortion pill.” She writes: “In fact, Plan B a progestin-type hormone (present in many oral contraceptives) that works to prevent pregnancies. It works by stopping the release of an egg from the ovaries, by preventing fertilization or by preventing a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus.

“It is important to not perpetuate misinformation regarding a safe, effective method of contraception that can prevent an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy if taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse.”

• In the Feb. 15 story “Parents ask school district to remove Bird Rock Elementary principal,” it should have stated the group that circulated the allegations against Hale consisted of parents and some members of the school site governance committee.


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.