OUR READERS WRITE: Jan. 11 issue: Birds may be down, but never out!


Four species of iconic birds were threatened by the widespread use of the pesticide DDT after World War II; they were ospreys, peregrine falcons, brown pelicans and bald eagles. All four have recovered significantly following the banning of DDT in 1972.

Last week, as I sat at Children’s Pool, I saw three of those species. An osprey perched on a light stanchion in front of Casa de Manana, a peregrine falcon sat on the highest corner of the building at 939 Coast Blvd., and brown pelicans flew along the cresting waves.

While most visitors to the shore in La Jolla focus on the harbor seals and the sea lions, and understandably so, but looking skyward even more wildlife abounds. A friend, who works in the Financial Building on Prospect, can attest to this, with his photo of an osprey taken on the fifth floor balcony outside his office during the last week in December.

We should definitely listen to Yogi Berra, who said: “You can see a lot by looking.”

Art Cooley

Village MAD plan unfair to homeowners

I’m glad about no MAD (Maintenance Assessment District). Implementation of the unjust MAD tax on homeowners in the vicinity of The Village might have benefited businesses in our downtown core, but there are certainly no benefits for the close-in targeted homeowners who would be paying a large part of the bill for the imagined improvements. As a local homeowner and frequent walker through The Village, I see the messes created by out-of-town visitors shopping at stores operated by non-92037 residents, and I wonder why the store operators don’t clean up and beautify their own storefront areas?

The MAD tax was, and is, nothing more than a creative plot to take from local homeowners in order to improve business for irresponsible shopkeepers. The vote to implement the MAD tax was heavily weighted and unfair to local homeowners from the beginning.

Jim Hudnall

Village MAD plan needed to right wrongs

I’m writing in the hopes of expanding the backlash against the one property owner in The Village who has sued and won an injunction against the La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District to stop the MAD from beginning to execute carefully-vetted plans this month. I’ve tried, but cannot fathom the reasoning behind this.

The assessments for each property owner of the two districts involved is a very modest sum. In addition, the “facelift” and services proposed are aimed directly at benefiting the very areas in which people in the MAD live or lease property. I’d venture to say that the benefit to the value and desirability of these properties would more than cover an annual assessment.

From what I understand, this injunction and necessary appeal will take at least 18 months. If this is a disappointment to me, it has to be devastating to the individuals who have spent countless volunteer hours over several years to form and vet the format for this venture. I applaud their service and thank them for developing this concept to revive our Tarnished Jewel and stop its disgrace.

I suggest that all La Jollans examine their own apathy and get brainstorming about how to circumvent this disappointment and conjure up some Village pride. You can start by visiting the MAD website at to keep abreast of happenings and maybe even get involved. This town isn’t going to improve on its own.

Debra Duford

Can music soothe the savage traffic beast?

It’s interesting to see that La Jolla Light is asking for solutions to road rage. I for one, would love to read them! I don’t like driving anymore. If feels like a competition, everyone is going so fast. Everywhere I go, someone wants to get in front of me; it’s like I’m in a race that I didn’t enter!

There’s no courtesy on the roads. No one waits their turn. Cars are driving along the shoulder to get on the freeway and diving in front of me to get off at an exit. If you leave a safe distance between you and the car in front of you, someone swerves in and you’re forced to brake. What used to take me 35 minutes up I-5 to work, now takes 55 minutes or more every day. If I listen to Talk Radio, it only makes me even more angry, so now I play ambient music (like you hear in a spa) on my commutes because it soothes and lowers my heart rate.

Alan Boyer

It’s time for speed cameras

I lived in San Diego as a young man in the late 1970s and ’80s. I was married at La Valencia Hotel in 1984 and graduated from San Diego State the same year. I’ve lived abroad since 1985 and recently retired and returned to my beloved San Diego, or more specifically, Bird Rock.

What I notice most with respect to “change” in the area are the drivers. Everyone is in such a hurry and no one abides by the posted speeds. I travel the speed limit on residential streets and the freeway and I frequently get honked at, or worse. Very few people “drive friendly” anymore! If I signal to change lanes, I’m typically cut off! What happened to California drivers?

One idea to raise much-needed funds for cash-strapped California, would be to install speed cameras around town and on freeways. I’ve seen these cameras used very effectively in South Africa and Switzerland. A camera snaps a photo of a vehicle in violation with the license plate clearly visible and the fine notice is mailed to the violator’s address on record with details of the speeding event documented. To renew one’s registration or driver’s license, one must be paid up on all tickets. Speed cameras could slow drivers down, save lives, reduce carbon emissions and save gas. Those that won’t slow down, help fund the City’s coffers!

James Phillips

Let’s all walk and win!

The best way to avoid, tolerate or solve traffic situations is to walk everywhere. I live in the Village and haven’t owned or leased a car since 1983. For those who have trouble walking, take the bus. It runs often.

Lewis Goodman

Aircraft health issues worse than noise

Margo Schwab (in her letter in the Dec. 21 issue) is quite right that aircraft noise in La Jolla is worse and that the health issues of noise and pollution have not yet been acknowledged. The pervasive noise from the growl of jet engines is documented, but widely ignored, and continues from 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. for departures and 24-hours-a-day for arrivals. The level of noise and the lack of sleep have been the subject of research for many years now and indicate health concerns. Such studies done in Europe and the United States are easy to find and include recent studies at LAX .

In addition, the pollution from the ultra-fine exhaust particles emitted by plane engines poses a threat to the heart, brain and lungs. This, too, is well documented and ignored. Please read this article “Planes’ exhaust could be harming communities up to 10 miles from LAX,” online at It’s very enlightening ... and frightening!

Gillian Ackland

Bry misinformed on Soccer City Initiative

I just read City Council member Barbara Bry’s interview about her first year in office in the Jan. 4 issue. My wife and I have been La Jolla residents since 1968, other than my several years absence for Vietnam-era military service. We raised our two sons here and they went through the La Jolla public schools and then through UC San Diego. As a family, we’ve always tried to be community-minded and give some time and effort to make our community a better place.

As a result of a lot of hard work on their parts, our two sons became partners in FS Investors, the proponents of the Soccer City initiative. They believe they’ve put forward a proposal that benefits the City by turning the City’s stadium property from a multi-million dollar annual expense into a property-tax producing live, work and play community that would include affordable housing, create a long-desired River Park, solve SDSU’s stadium needs and provide an option for SDSU student housing and other academic needs — and bring Major League Soccer to San Diego. And, yes, if all the unknowns work out as they hope, then they will make a profit from their efforts.

Council member Bry has said nothing informative about the merits of the Initiative. I found her comments about Soccer City in the interview to be very disappointing in describing it as “a rip-off for taxpayers,” just as I found her description of my sons and their partners as swindlers in a June Voice of San Diego op-ed to be unjustified and unsupported by any factual explanation. If Council member Bry has any factual analysis that the Soccer City Initiative is not in the best financial interest of the citizens of San Diego, or is not better than other alternatives, then she should communicate that rather than resorting to name-calling. Taking the low road neither educates us to the issues as voters nor improves the likelihood of achieving the best outcome for San Diego.

David F. Dunbar

Bry should rethink energy policy support

I was surprised to read in last week’s La Jolla Light that our City Council member Barbara Bry favors Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) for energy when all of the financial pieces of this proposal are not known at this time and the biggest unknown won’t be known until the California Public Utilities Commission provides the “exit fee” calculations in the fall of this year. (Editor’s Note: The City continues to consider ways to increase the use of renewable energy to reach 100 percent citywide in 2035. One option is through a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA). CCAs give residents and businesses an opportunity to choose who will purchase energy on their behalf, either the CCA or the incumbent utility, and the renewable content of their electricity.)

When one reads in the City’s CCA Draft Proposal of the unknowns still to be quantified, it leads an intelligent person to wonder why the politicians are hell bent on creating a new high-paid City bureaucracy to administer the CCA ... unless they have been bamboozled by Climate Action Plan zealot Nicole Capretz. The Chamber and the Taxpayers Association have withheld any endorsement of CCA and, at this time, that is the only sensible position to take.

Lou Cumming

Community loses out on school track

You had only one mention, in your recent “La Jolla Year in Review,” concerning re-opening of the La Jolla High School track to the public, a debate that appeared in many issues of the Light throughout 2017. The article you highlighted was “High School Principal Podhorsky offers a solution” from March 2017. Both the school district and, eventually, the principal, discredited that “solution” as impossible for runners and walkers. We ended the year with multiple La Jolla committees/associations asking the principal to work collaboratively with the community. Podhorsky, in the fall, also told me that he would identify hours for a well-conceived plan the community drafted (sign-ups, waivers, a fee, and more volunteer adults to help the school). Entering 2018, the principal’s silence tells us everything we need to know.

Why should non-parents support the school in 2018 if the school will not support the community? And, if the school track will remain closed to the public for walking and running, how will the community find an equivalently safe alternative as it plans the playground remodel?

Kay Plantes

January membership discount at La Jolla Community Center

The La Jolla Community Center at 6811 La Jolla Blvd. is the place to learn something new and make new friends in 2018. The Center offers senior citizens 15 fitness classes a week, plus bridge, art, language and cooking lessons, day trips, “How to Use Your iPhone” sessions, concerts and so much more.

The Center is running a membership promotion through Jan. 31 where new members can sign up for $100 (the regular fee is $120) and current members can renew for $110.

If anyone needs transportation to the Center, Senior Express Transportation Coordinator Marge Niven can schedule a ride at (858) 337-0275. This month has a promotion of three free rides. Some restrictions apply. For a newsletter and e-news call (858) 459-0831 or

Nancy Walters, Executive Director

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.