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Opinion

Our Readers Write: La Jollans speak out about electric scooters, short-term rentals, Children’s Pool seals

 Beachgoers standing behind a barrier rope observe seals at Children’s Pool in La Jolla.

Beachgoers standing behind a barrier rope observe seals at Children’s Pool in La Jolla.

(Ashley Mackin-Solomon / La Jolla Light)

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 editor@lajollalight.com or mail them to La Jolla Light Editor, 565 Pearl St., Suite 300, La Jolla, CA 92037

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I call this image ‘Scooter Invasion.’ — William Pieren ... Dockless, electric scooters are dropped off on public spaces and blocking sidewalks everyday, throughout La Jolla — and have become the topic of debate and frustration to many residents.

I call this image ‘Scooter Invasion.’ — William Pieren ... Dockless, electric scooters are dropped off on public spaces and blocking sidewalks everyday, throughout La Jolla — and have become the topic of debate and frustration to many residents.

(Photo by William Pieren)
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Remove scooters until they get Municipal Code-based permits

In light of the scooter related death, June 23 in Mission Beach , the City Attorney should send a “cease and desist” letter to each known shared mobility device business currently operating in the City of San Diego demanding they remove their devices from the public streets and sidewalks until they obtain a permit as required pursuant to Section 83.0304. This is a matter of enforcing our laws and protecting our public safety.

After two deaths, numerous injuries, a pending class action suit, millions of dollars paid out in settlements and a highly critical report from the San Diego County Grand Jury, it’s time for our City Attorney to take action before there are additional deaths or serious injuries.

There are more than 15,000 scooters and bicycles illegally placed on San Diego’s streets and sidewalks in violation of Section 83.0304 of the San Diego Municipal Code. The City has enacted laws, in Division 3 of Article 3 of the San Diego Municipal Code. These laws require a permit to own or operate a shared mobility device business within San Diego. There are many companies currently operating such businesses in flagrant violation of the law. We don’t know who will apply or if any of them will be issued a permit. Until a permit is granted the City does not have any indemnification from the companies and we don’t know if they carry adequate insurance. None of the scooters are properly labeled as required by Section 83.0306. (Apparently motorized bicycles do not require labeling.)

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The recent San Diego County Grand Jury Report, filed June 20, 2019, was very critical of the City for not acting responsibly and urged the City to act promptly to protect its citizens. Now is the time for the City to step up and do something before more injuries and even deaths occur from the unauthorized operation of these businesses.

I am demanding that the City take immediate action by requiring the companies operating a shared mobility device business to remove all their devices from the streets and sidewalks of San Diego until they are issued permits pursuant to the requirements of the Municipal Code. Pending issuance of a permit, San Diego Parking Enforcement Officers should be instructed to issue citations or impound any illegal parked devices. These measures can be effected swiftly pursuant to existing laws and at very little cost to the City.

Irwin Kwatek

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RE: Opposition to short-term rental proposal

Last week, the La Jolla Town Council presented a new proposal that would place arbitrary restrictions on short-term rentals. Unfortunately, this proposal does not adequately represent the needs of all San Diegans. The letter below was e-mailed to the La Jolla Town Council president as well as the San Diego City Council opposing the new proposed regulations from the La Jolla Town Council:

“Thank you for bringing to our attention the La Jolla Town Council’s proposed regulations attempting to govern short-term rentals (STRs) not just in your jurisdiction of La Jolla but throughout the entire City. Unfortunately, Share San Diego cannot support these new proposed rules, as they were crafted behind closed doors and without the participation of our organization or consultation of STR supporters who seek to protect their personal property rights, livelihoods, and freedom to rent their homes.

The LJTC proposal seeks to limit STRs to only one’s primary residence in San Diego, except for Mission Beach. The voters of San Diego soundly rejected primary only regulations just last year, as our organization helped lead the effort to collect approximately 62,000 signatures forcing the City Council to overturn their own primary only legislation.

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We disagree with the secretive way your proposal was drafted — without input from the public or from STR supporters. In contrast, the Mission Beach Town Council sought input from a variety of perspectives, including STR supporters and detractors. While we have not yet taken a stance on all the tenants of their proposal, or the proposal as whole, we do applaud them for their inclusive support of all points of view.

Share San Diego is more than happy to work with the Ja Jolla Town Council and others to find a compromise that would work for the benefit of the entire City and not just a select few. It is our sincere desire to find a path forward that will increase funding for the enforcement of nuisances caused by both long and short-term rentals, so that the character of our neighborhoods remain intact.”

Jonah Mechanic; President, Share San Diego

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Coastal Commission ruled right by Ellen Browning Scripps about Children’s Pool

I hope those few locals who expressed the desire and/or need to remove harbor seal protection at Casa Beach (aka Children’s Pool Beach) will see the wisdom of the California Coastal Commission’s recent decision to continue current protection methodology for the next 10 years. In the wider view, our coastal ecology, and indeed our enjoyment of and curiosity about the natural world, are all enhanced by the presence of the seals.

Those of us who have worked for so many years to educate the public about harbor seal behavior, and the need to have protected seal habitat at Casa Beach, know we still have an educational effort ahead, but the feelings of humans hostile to the seals — and the sentiments of those who feel entitled to that patch of sand to the exclusion of other species — are perhaps best dealt with through introspection and thoughtful intuition regarding the larger needs of our environment.

More education may be desirable for those previous letter-writers to the La Jolla Light who used arguments relating to Ellen Browning Scripps to refute the larger public’s wish for continued seal protection at Casa Beach, since Ellen had a great love for the sea and its creatures, as well as for children. My great-grandfather Jacob Chandler Harper, attorney for Miss Scripps and early La Jolla residents, would be quick to point out Torrey Pines Park and Scripps Institution of Oceanography in support of her broad perspective on the environment.

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James Hudnall

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Floating dock for the seals anyone?

I almost never grow weary of the constant banter surrounding our “conflict” with our seafaring neighbors, and hesitate to add my voice to the mix … but I just can’t resist. I am wondering if there has ever been a proposal that satisfies both humans and pinnipeds, possibly a floating dock off the coast specifically to accommodate them.

I have seen apparently happy seals in the San Francisco Bay luxuriating on man-made docks. I can’t help but think the seals would be much happier to get away from our cameras and the constant pressure of photo opportunities. A floating dock might actually flush better than our shoreline, thereby improving our water quality.

I saw a news story this week about a sea lion that had had enough and actually bit a young girl in Pismo Beach. Our seals and sea lions appear to be more tolerant than the Pismo variety, but I wonder if we are pushing their limits?

Chris Dailey

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Children’s Pool gates should be used as intended

I realize not everyone grew up in La Jolla, so unless you did, you probably do not know the history of the Children’s Pool. When the Pool was built by Ellen Browning Scripps for children, it was built as a pool, meaning when you came down the stairs to the sand, you just took a few steps and were in the water. When the pool was designed, it had gates in the wall that could be opened to let the sand out when it built up. The engineer told Ms. Scripps the wall could not be built without the gates, because then the spot would not remain a pool, it would become a beach with a hill of sand and the children would be moved farther and farther out into the ocean, and everyone knew there was a rip out there.

I, and many others, think it’s time for the City to use the gates that came with the gift of the wall as they were meant to be used: to clean the sand out. The gates have never been used since the pool opened. City fathers had TOT tax money in the 1980s to use to open the gates, but changed their mind. That was a huge mistake. Now we have a situation where we have shared-use of that beach with harbor seals and when it comes time for the children to have their turn, the sand should be cleaned for them, otherwise it’s like asking people to sit in a litterbox; it is disgusting. Seals have thousands of beach miles to use, we have one Children’s Pool. If the City wants a seal attraction, it should build one downtown.

Melinda Merryweather

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CORRECTION: USO Gala raises $900,000

Editor’s Note: In last week’s Social Life story about the USO Gala in La Jolla Light, the amount of cash raised was reported correctly as over $900,000 for programs for military families. However, in the headline, a zero was missing from that amount. To be clear: Proceeds from the USO Gala topped $900,000 and the gala took place at the Marriott Marquis.

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Underwater photos show a hit at the library

Thank you La Jolla Light for the wonderful story in last week’s paper about the underwater photography exhibit at the La Jolla Library! The article and photos brought a whole new crowd to our opening reception on Sunday.

Many of the underwater photographers were there and people loved hearing stories about the photos they captured diving and snorkeling. I’m passing along several photos (see below) — show curator Diane Ryason with a baby seal photograph by Marla Matin, (note their matching color schemes); undersea video by Robert Pooley being watched by two happy visitors; Walter Hiem’s shark, with Walter in a shark shirt made by his daughter; and Nanette Oder Oselett with her children’s book “A B SEAS” and tribute to La Jolla Shores. She will be sharing her book with a children’s reading at the library in an upcoming visit.

Your support helps all our programs, and as always, we are so grateful.

Arlene Powers, La Jolla Library Art Committee

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Exhibit curator Diane Ryason
( Courtesy )
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Children watch an undersea video by Robert Pooley
( Courtesy )
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Photographer Walter Hiem
( Courtesy Photos )
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Nanette Oder Oselett
( Courtesy )

• The photography exhibit “A World Underwater” can be viewed for free at La Jolla Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave., La Jolla, through Sept. 14, 2019 during library hours in the Community Room. (858) 552-1657. lajollalibrary.org

SEE RELATED STORY: “Like Swimming Through a Painting”: La Jolla Library exhibit highlights underwater photography at lajollalight.com/art/story/2019-06-18/la-jolla-library-underwater-photography-exhibit

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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 editor@lajollalight.com 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.


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