Our Readers Write: La Jollans air their views on local topics — Humans vs. seals at Children’s Pool and more


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 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


We’ve got the parking blues, too!

Dear Inga: Your column last week “Fear of Parking Lots,” could not be a more perfect censure of these automotive concrete bunkers. However, your black SUV experience cannot hold a candle to what my bride experiences regularly — forced to squeeze in between two crew-cab, extended-bed, jacked-up monster trucks with just 2 inches to spare between them. Further, these trucks are parked in spaces marked for small cars!

I have written to one of these parking lot owners to suggest that such monstrous vehicles be corralled in one area only of their lots, but have never received an acknowledgement of my request — probably because the owner(s) drive such road hogs! I suggest you send an autographed copy of your article to all La Jolla parking lot and parking structure owners.

Lou Cumming



Clarification please

Last week, the La Jolla Light printed my message (above) to Inga but the text was changed and it made it sound as if my bride chose to park between two monster trucks when what I wrote clearly stated that she was squeezed in by those truck drivers; i.e. she parked first and then was surrounded by those trucks. Makes my bride look like she created her own problem whereas the opposite was the case.

Lou Cumming


Children’s Pool never meant to be a rookery

Finally, some voices of reason in regard to the seemingly perpetual “debate” surrounding the Children’s Pool. Recently letter writers have eloquently pointed out the real significance of the Children’s Pool and the long-established role it has traditionally played in our community. The Children’s Pool was created as a resource for all who enjoy the ocean and has historically been a location where individuals — young and old — who enjoy the ocean but due to age or infirmity or other reasons, cannot do so at many of our beaches, which are typically exposed to wave action.

For those concerned about the welfare of the harbor seals presently occupying the Children’s Pool, I suggest that trying to attract seals to the Pool and have them establish a breeding colony is, no matter how well-intentioned, a misplaced concern in disagreement with the principles of wildlife management and tenets of basic population ecology. I suggest that efforts to perpetuate a seal colony at Children’s Pool would be much better spent working on real ecological/environmental problems, of which there are more than enough to go around.

Steve Roberts


Children’s Pool belongs to the community

Children’s Pool has been stolen from us by some “seal crusaders” who have promoted an ecological disaster. Turning Children’s Pool into a rookery for harbor seals has devastated this area’s offshore plant life, including coral as well as fish. You can no longer take your children to Children’s Pool or the surrounding park. The water, the sand, and the very air you breathe, are polluted. California Coastal Commission will soon decide on a 10-year extension of a rope barrier at Children’s Pool for the unhealthy benefit of seals!

We are all children at heart. We love to enjoy the ocean, the fresh air and our toes curled in the sand. Children’s Pool is a place for the disabled to get to the beach, scuba divers and swimmers to enter the ocean and all of us to enjoy a day at the beach or the above park. Tell the Commission this area is for all of us, especially our children. Tell them we want Children’s Pool back!

Please e-mail:

Subject: Public Comment on June 2019 Agenda Item Permit No. 6-15-0223-A2 (City of San Diego Children’s Pool Rope Barrier)

Susan and Stephen Medak


Parolees could guard the pinnipeds

How about getting judges to order that good behavior gang members on probation be paid to protect the seals and sea lions from people harassment? I always see people harassing the seals. Seems like the half-and-half sharing of The Cove is a good solution.

Azura Zion


Children’s Pool wall not the best solution

Last week’s front-page story on the wall at Children’s Pool was great. The story shed light on another attempt by the City to slide something through and to avoid discussion and scrutiny. The City’s stated justifications for the wall are just blather that makes no sense to anyone who knows anything about Children’s Pool. Years ago that road was open. There was no gate. City workers and lifeguards used to drive down it to the beach. The City has even tried to deny that.

That wall cost a lot more than it would have cost to just make a taller gate by adding to the existing gate or building a new one. And since it was a change order, it probably cost double. It’s possible that adding the wall should have been submitted for consideration to the Coastal Commission, as it involves access to the beach.

The City information officer said that lifeguards didn’t need vehicle access to the beach for a water rescue. That’s ridiculous. If someone were rescued from the water near Children’s Pool, it would be good to have a lifeguard jeep or ambulance at beach level to provide CPR and EMTs, rather than having to transport the victim to La Jolla Shores , which is the nearest vehicle access point — or a victim would have to be carried up the stairs at Children’s Pool, also not an easy task. If someone had a medical emergency, such as a heart attack on the beach, an emergency vehicle would not be able to drive down to the beach. EMT’s would have to go down the stairs and carry the victim up the stairs.

At many beaches, such as La Jolla Cove, Shell Beach, etc., vehicle access has never been possible. But it existed at Children’s Pool until it was taken away by the City for no justifiable reason. That was not in the best interests of citizens.

I agree with beach-access advocate Ken Hundrichs; it was done to prevent access to the beach and it had something to do with the seals. That was stupid. Emergency access is very important, minutes — and even seconds — matter in saving lives.

Doug Burleigh, Former lifeguard


Time to update our view of Children’s Pool

I came to La Jolla in 1984 with daughters aged 4 and 8. Eager to acquaint them with our new home and being a lover of beaches and swimming, I often took them to the Children’s Pool that first year. Once we had incredible luck, which I think must have been engineered by some kind soul: two perfect sea urchin shells, unbroken and unblemished, washed into their laps as we sat on the edge of the shore.

Generally, though, I found myself having to guard the kids every minute. We would wade into the shallows, loving the sparkles and aquamarine tints and the graceful swirls of water, but always I stuck right by their sides, knowing those same swirls waves might quickly push my daughters over and carry them away from my frightened reach. As we’d try to swim, the sand on the bottom and the waves kept shifting; also there were rocks to avoid. After several visits, I began to think, this is not the safest beach for small children, and also to feel rather afraid of the place myself.

So I switched to La Jolla Shores, that lovely place of flat, inviting sands. We found it far more kid-friendly and less dangerous. I still watched the kids there, as I do when I go there today with my grandson, but its wide sandy reaches seemed then, and still do, far better suited to children’s relaxed play.

However, like the ongoing underwater swirl of ocean currents themselves, there is a deeper underlying reason for my reservations about the Children’s Pool. Many letter writers cite the original intention of Miss Scripps, that there be a dedicated and safe place for children to engage with the ocean. What a lovely, kind thought on her part! She was altruistic indeed.

But the times, and the waters, have changed. I think her intent does not hold up very well any more. I feel it has led us to a viewpoint that might be stated as “Oh, Nature, well, that’s inconvenient, we’ll just do what we want and keep using the place no matter what.”

I don’t think that the Children’s Pool works well as a beach. To me, it feels small, as well as extremely dicey due to the rocks and currents. Though its sandy section is pleasant enough, actual swimming there seems appropriate only for strong swimmers. The Children’s Pool works best as a great scenic place, which is the way my family most often uses it and has done for a long time. Also, every time I go there, I meet yet another visitor who adores watching the seals and sea lions, and often tells me how fortunate we are to have them.

“Original intent,” however well-meaning, doesn’t insure that we will find the Children’s Pool workable in perpetuity; it also doesn’t mean that we should banish sea life from it. I feel that we can and should do our swimming elsewhere.

Between the many pools available to us, and all the other beaches in La Jolla and surrounding communities, we are blessed. Instead of clutching tightly a well-intentioned past move that’s come to present problems, let’s make the most of other local beaches now, while we teach our children about the wonders of natural life going on in front of us.

Sally W. Buffington


Let’s bring back Hot Curl statue!

I was wondering if perhaps a real (quality) Hot Curl statue might finally be installed at Windansea after all these years; produced from bronze, colored resin or other permanent material for a lasting installation? It could be similar in size to the original dimensions, illuminated at night by LED fixtures with a proper footing that is drilled into the rock and sealed with hydraulic cement. If so desired, “MCMLXIII” (1963) can be stamped at the base as a nod to the original installation date.

Might La Jolla’s “powers that be” approve of such a tourism-boosting statue? There is no reason why Hot Curl shouldn’t be able to claim his rightful place on the coast. He is as much a part of local identity as the Bell’s Pavilion “Mushroom House.” Funding for a statue can come from a wide variety of sources, even something along the lines of GoFundMe if necessary.

Lindsey Jauregui


It’s 120 years for the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library

It was with great surprise that we saw the Athenaeum’s history mentioned as a history of the La Jolla Public Library in the May 30 issue. It is not so. We wish the La Jolla Library all the best for its celebration June 6, but please call it the 64th anniversary of the La Jolla Public Library. La Jolla has had library services in town since June 19, 1899, through the Library Association of La Jolla, a membership library still in existence today, and since 1957 known as the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library.

The Athenaeum Music & Arts Library is a nonprofit membership library providing resources in music and the arts, as well as ongoing cultural programs, art classes, concerts, exhibitions, and kindergarten to twelfth-grade outreach programs. It was founded in 1899 with the legal name Library Association of La Jolla and Ellen Browning Scripps was the first president. Located at the corner of Wall Street and Girard Avenue in La Jolla, the first cottage, donated by Florence Sawyer, was known as The Reading Room.

In 1921, the first library building, designed by William Templeton Johnson with a Kate Sessions garden, was known as the La Jolla Library. From 1955 to 1989, the City of San Diego rented the Templeton Johnson building and operated a public library branch (the public library moved to Draper Avenue in 1989). In 1957, the adjacent building with the Rotunda, designed by William Lumpkins, was completed and the Library Association of La Jolla added a DBA or a fictitious name, the Athenaeum Music & Arts Library.

Three things are well known and still correct about us: for 120 years we have always been a Membership Library, our legal name has always been Library Association of La Jolla, and we have always been located at the corner of Wall Street and Girard Avenue.

Erika Torri, Joan & Irwin Jacobs Executive Director


La Jolla is blessed with many amenities

A recent letter claimed that La Jolla “pales in comparison” to Solana Beach. First and foremost, Solana Beach has a population of about 14,000, whereas La Jolla’s population is more than 45,000. In other words, La Jolla is more than three times larger than Solana Beach, so any comparison is instantly misleading and inaccurate. Second, I have been to Solana Beach dozens of times over the years. I am always left with one overwhelming feeling: Boredom. Other than Cedros Avenue, there’s no shopping and/or restaurant district. No museums. No nice hotels. No go-to restaurants. One walks around for about 10 minutes before exhausting all the possibilities.

In La Jolla, by contrast, we have world-class shopping and eating on Girard Avenue and Prospect Street. We have top-notch bookstores, schools and museums. We have UCSD, Salk Institute, The Conrad Performing Arts Center, Scripps Institution of Oceanography … the list goes on and on. And for outdoor activities, there’s no matching the beaches in La Jolla (referenced by The Beach Boys) or the endlessly exciting tide pools (memorialized by John Steinbeck’s “Sweet Thursday”).

Forgive me if I’m mistaken, but I believe the U.S. Open will again be played at beautiful Torrey Pines Golf Course — located, incidentally, in lovely La Jolla. We are blessed.

Bill Smith


Leaf blower rules must come from City Council

Here is the response I received from City Council member Barbara Bry’s office, e-mailed by her community representative Mauricio Medina as an FYI about the leaf blower issue. It contains their thoughts on next steps and reads:

“When I briefed Council member Bry about this issue, she believed that this should be brought forward to the full City Council through the legislative process, which begins at the Council Committee level.

I’ve shared these concerns with Council member Jennifer Campbell’s office, she is chair of the Environment Committee. I encourage you to express your concerns at the next Environment Committee during non-agenda public comment, 1 p.m. May 23, at 202 C Street on Floor 12. More information about the City’s Environment Committee can be found at

If you are unable to attend the Environment Committee meeting, you may speak at non-agenda public comment at any public meeting of the City Council. Meetings are held most Mondays and Tuesdays. Here is a link to the legislative calendar:

Scott Croydon


Straight talk on Nobel Trolley Station parking

The La Jolla Light’s recent Mid-Coast Trolley article in regards to the parking spaces being added to La Jolla Village Square needs the following clarification: The current design for the parking structure adjacent to the Nobel Drive Station includes a total of 626 spaces (including the ground level of the structure). Of those spaces, 337 will serve to replace parking that was previously removed from the La Jolla Village Square property to allow space for the construction of the Mid-Coast Trolley and its accompanying station at Nobel Drive.

SANDAG is required to replace these spaces as part of our agreement with La Jolla Village Square. Thus, the true total of new parking spaces to be added in this area is 289, which will be dedicated for use by Trolley riders and MTS maintenance vehicles.

Ridership analysis conducted as part of the Mid-Coast Trolley project’s environmental impact report determined 260 spaces to be necessary for this station, and the additional spaces were simply the result of the structure’s design.

Jessica Gonzales, SANDAG Associate Public Information Officer


Taxes should fund needed road repairs

The gas tax is now: .185 Federal Tax; California Tax: .437 plus .04 on July 1; sales tax 2.75 percent. Write to the Governor and Cal Trans. Ask them for a list of the crumbling bridges they advertised and when they will be fixed.

Have you hit one of the potholes on 78 or 76? Write SANDAG and ask them when they are going to repair the potholes with the Sales Tax money they are collecting. It seems that all they can do is paint pictures on the road, build useless “transit centers,” and waste money on little used trains with no transportation connectors.

Susan Nikkel


Where was the Rainbow Juice Bar?

Does anyone recall the address of the Rainbow Juice Bar that was located on La Jolla Boulevard in the 1970s? If so, please call me at (858) 454-2628.

Howard G. Singer


It’s the little things that mean a lot!

I passed by lower Girard Avenue on my way to the La Jolla Open Aire Farmers Market last week and noticed how nice part of the sidewalk was on the west side. I asked the owner of Posh La Jolla salon, Brett Beal, “Who cleaned it up and added the planters?” The answer was he did! What a difference a business owner can make. Brett had “before” and “after” photos that he gave me and I share here! Bravo!

Geri Warnke


Read/research old La Jolla Light newspapers at library

I recently saw a Light article that mentioned that the La Jolla Light did not have its back issues from the 1940s. It may be useful to know that La Jolla’s Riford Library History Room has microfilm copies of the Light and its early competitor, the La Jolla Journal, from 1919 through 1969. The library also has the only existing paper copy of the Light for the period 1970 through mid-1994. Bound copies of the latter have a topical index to ease use and to minimize handling. For genealogy research, obituaries have been indexed from 1919 through 1994.

Darryl Templer


Take care with your tots on play structures

My 5-year-old daughter had a serious accident at the UTC La Jolla mall last Wednesday. She fell from the new play structure and hit her head pretty badly on the way down. I rushed her to Rady’s emergency room and she had a CT scan that, thankfully, was normal. She is recovering from a concussion and her back is healing. I want to warn parents to be careful with their little ones. I will ask mall management to place padding around the poles as the whole structure is metal.

Paola Ehrlich


Thoughts on the flag flyer’s story last week

As an American, I take offense to anyone flying a foreign flag without an American flag prominently displayed. It is disrespectful, aggressive and most definitely not a gesture of peace. Secondly, I feel that at a time when anti-Semitism is at an all-time high since the 1940s, the Palestianian flag flyer story published last week provided the subject with a platform to demonize the Jewish State.

Zohara Bar David


Dog’s accident begs further commentary

I would like to extend my sincerest condolences to the Shaanan family for injuries sustained by their dog Miki on May 23 in The Village. Distracted, speeding drivers are a genuine problem in La Jolla — they are often looking at their cell phones or not seeing pedestrians in a sidewalk as they proceed through an intersection without stopping for a stop sign.

Quite frankly, La Jolla has become more dangerous with the advent of technology at our fingertips while driving too fast in areas populated with people and pets.

However, it’s troublesome to know the 12.5-year-old dog was not on a leash. A dog of that age most likely would have hearing loss and would be movement-impaired because of its age. The need for extra attention and a leash — while knowing where the dog is at all times while crossing a street — is essential, given the facts of its age and knowing about the danger that exists on our streets.

Off-leash dogs and speeding cars are chronic issues in La Jolla. If your dog is off-leash, you are responsible for injuries sustained more than the driver. This needs to be the broader message regarding mindful driving and mindful pet ownership.

Name withheld by request


Funds are what’s needed to advance La Jolla Cityhood

In his letter of May 29, “Secede Already!” the writer poses an excellent question: With our high tax base and all of our ongoing, unsolvable problems as a Village within the City of San Diego, why have we not seceded already? The State process for a Village to secede from a City is actually not that complex. This process, known as Special Reorganization, does detail varied and sundry topics — everything from a municipal code to traffic regulations, to police and fire response times.

With the exception of the school district (whose districting does not change in Special Reorganization), every aspect of our current Village would no longer be the City of San Diego, but the City of La Jolla. So there is a quite a bit of paperwork, but every one piece of paper is an opportunity, the enablement of local taxes to spent only locally to improve our infrastructure, our parks and beaches, our community buildings, and our streets. But none of the paperwork is complicated and all of it has been completed.

The process of becoming a City is handled by a state government agency called the Local Area Formation Committee, or LAFCO. It has no stake in the game as to whether a Village becomes a City or not. All it is concerned with is that each aspect of this Special Reorganization is handled properly and culminates in a public ballot. Independent La Jolla is registered with LAFCO to navigate the process.

To address the question of why we have not “Seceded Already,” the answer is financial in nature. There is no government agency that pays for Special Reorganization, nor can the money for it be paid via taxes. There are no grant vehicles for Special Reorganization, nor can such a process be paid for via PACS. Across the country, Special Reorganization is paid for by the people and culminates in a ballot to be voted upon by the people.

So ironically, we are standing in our own way. City Council cannot deny us the right to become a City. Nor can City Hall, or Senate, or Congress or any entity. The Special Reorganization process is as democratic as one could be. We pay for it and vote for it, and we reap the benefit of taxation with representation, or we remain as a Village within a City, powerless to shape our destiny.

The answer to why we haven’t “Seceded Already” is that we as a people don’t seem to want it badly enough. We have to want it. We have to want our own Mayor, our own City Council, our own brightly lit future paid for with our own City of La Jolla tax dollars.

We can take our next steps now. Two LAFCO steps that require to funds to execute are:

1) A 2019 Fiscal Feasibility Study, to demonstrate that the City of La Jolla is economically feasible inclusive of revenue mitigation payments.

2) A metes and bounds map of 92037, the boundaries of our City.

The vendor cost of the study is $40,000, and of the map is $35,000. These are the next two financial milestones on the road to Cityhood. So if you are reading this, consider making a donation to form our new City. You may pay the vendors directly if you wish.

The Scripps family famously said: “Give light and the people will find their own way.” Special Reorganization is the light. Please visit our website, for all the specific information on Special Reorganization, its components and commensurate fee structure.

Melinda Merryweather, Independent La Jolla


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.