Our Readers Write: La Jollans voice their opinions about airplane-noise debate; keeping the Village clean; in defense of school principals; treatment of homeless and other topics

Our Readers Write / Opinion / Letters to the Editor:

Letters to the Editor from the March 1, 2018 issue of La Jolla Light as La Jollans speak out on local issues:


Keeping La Jolla clean is everyone’s responsibility

I walk my dog, sometimes three or four times a day in The Village. I pick up trash as I’m walking along, using my plastic dog dropping bags, and when they’re full, I place them into garbage cans. Rarely have I seen the public garbage cans full. But occasionally, some are full, so I use one of the plastic bags over my hand, and push it down into the can (to make room for more trash).

La Jolla is visited by all of San Diego and outside visitors, too. La Jolla merchants sell them ice cream and coffee in cups, soft drinks, drinks in cans, and much of that is left on curbs, benches and ledges — many times partially full. Then, you have the continual other garbage thrown on the street by people walking and driving in cars. These include moms who change their children’s diapers in their car, and then leave the dirty diaper on the street curb. Who do these people think picks up their half-full cups from a ledge?

All that stuff, once it goes into the storm drain box, is transported via the storm drain pipes and empties right into the ocean. With the first season rains, I’ve seen it all pour out ... it’s pretty gross sometimes. I can’t imagine swimming and having a plastic bag floating in the ocean, wrapping around my ankle — all caused by people who give very little thought to what happens when they leave their trash behind.

It’s a mindset. The town might consider having signs strategically placed to remind people to “Keep La Jolla Clean” or “Please do not litter, keep our oceans clean.” The message may not sink in with everyone, but it might be a start, reminding people that it’s everyone’s responsibility to keep our city clean. Perhaps, there could be an editorial in La Jolla Light, pointing out that cleanliness is all our responsibilities. Especially offending are the dog owners who do pick up their dog’s droppings and then leave the full bag in the street. — J. Furrier


City update: Emptying trash recepticles in the Village of La Jolla

The City of San Diego’s Collection Services Division provides street litter container service to 47 containers on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday in the Village of La Jolla. Please let me know if the crews miss a certain container and I can reach out to staff immediately to rectify. (619) 236-6159,

Mauricio Medina, Council representative for District 1 City Council member Barbara Bry


People too quick to demand La Jolla principals’ removals

Something disconcerting is going on here. The last two issues of the Light have had articles about parents calling for the principals of two of La Jolla’s schools to be fired. The head of La Jolla High School is under fire because one of the students published a cartoon that was meant to be funny, but people found to be offensive instead. There is a move to oust the principal of Bird Rock Elementary because she didn’t attend to some students’ special learning needs quickly enough or provide parents with the school’s emergency plan. Are these valid reasons to fire a principal? They seem rather minor in the big picture of what it takes to run a school.

People are so quick today to fire people — especially parents. How many principals have we been through in La Jolla schools over the past few years? It’s not just La Jolla either. This is happening all over San Diego and across the country. Just do a Google search and you’ll come up with numerous instances. Parents scrutinize teachers and administrators in schools like never before and no one can live up to their impossible standards.

Who among us hasn’t missed an e-mail or failed an attempt at humor or let someone down while taking care of others? How much damage would it inflict on you and your family if you were to get fired from your job? How long could you keep paying the mortgage or rent? Would you have to move, and would your kids have to change schools? It would have to be an egregious offense for me to wish that on any family.

How much does it cost the school and the children to replace a principal? In corporations, it costs an average of $200,000 to replace a CEO. But the true cost of replacing a principal would have to include the impact on the children’s education. It takes months to replace a principal, and it can take years if you appoint an interim and conduct a search. The disruptions during this time would amount to a great deal more than the complaints reported in the Light.

And will the next principal be any better?

With all the scrutiny and firing going on, it will likely be difficult to recruit a good principal to a La Jolla school. Who would want the job? Smart, qualified people will go elsewhere or leave education altogether. It’s not a well-paying career, after all. Many good educators go into education because they want to help children. If we get rid of them, who’s left?

Lastly, what lesson are we teaching the children by firing people for making mistakes? We’re teaching children that it’s not OK to make mistakes and learn from them. There are no second chances. If you mess up even once, and even a little bit, you’re out. Research shows that anxiety among children is at an all-time high today. The pressure to be perfect is too much. It’s too much for all of us to live up to. Let’s all — as the kids today say — chill and work together to make our schools great and raise a well-educated, well-adjusted next generation of children. — Joanie Connell


Treatment for homeless, better than street life

I couldn’t believe the response printed in the Feb. 22 La Jolla Light calling for understanding and compassion in regard to homeless people on the streets. The response made me angry. It came in response to the previous week’s letter from a woman who said she was so frightened and upset by a homeless man’s cursing and yelling at her, that she now advocates for their incarceration or placement in a medical facility.

I think the respondent calling for compassion should take this homeless “victim” to her home and give him the marijuana he requests, and her love and support, too.

I, like the first letter-writer, was yelled at by this homeless man one day and cursed at, and while I didn’t cross over away from him, he truly frightened me. Maybe the kind, softhearted people of La Jolla should cease giving people on the street money, which seems to only give them the wherewithal to buy more drinks and marijuana.

Let’s all start voting for people who want to help these folks get off the street into facilities. — Nellis


‘Facts’ about aircraft noise and rules are disputable

On Feb. 21, the Light published a letter by Ted Haas, a pilot and a lawyer who specialized in aircraft issues. Pilots usually argue that all pilots observe altitude and other flight rules. Violations of flight rules never happen. By the same logic, no driver speeds on the freeway.

According to the City of San Diego, the daytime noise limit at Montgomery (MF) is 88 decibels (not “60", as Mr. Haas said). And the nighttime noise limit is 70 decibels (not “60") from 11:30 p.m. to 6:30 a.m.

Noise enforcement at MF has never been enthusiastic. Check on the percentage of fines that are actually collected. The original noise enforcement officer was a pilot. Pilots know where the noise sensors are and can reduce engine power/RPMs when they go over them, and then power up after they pass them. There is no further monitoring.

Planes do not “generally fly above 3,200 feet when crossing La Jolla,” that’s ridiculous. Planes flying north have to go above or below the Sea Wolf corridor, the Navy flight path out of Miramar, so they are allowed to be either above 3,200 feet, or below 1,800 feet. Most do the latter.

I’ve been on top of Mt. Soledad and observed planes flying from MF. Many fly through the “notch” over La Jolla Parkway, which is below the Soledad summit. Then they descend toward La Jolla. Some fly low over the beach and swimming areas and/or north along the coast. I’ve seen them below 100 feet.

Mr. Haas says that if you live within 10 miles of an airport you have no right to complain about noise. By that logic, no resident of San Diego County should ever complain about noise. Airports change; they lengthen their runways, they accommodate larger or more heavily loaded aircraft, flight paths are changed by the FAA, helicopters come (no altitude limits), etc. Noise contours change.

There is virtually NO enforcement of altitude rules.

If a resident calls the FAA or an airport to report a low-flying plane, the FAA will want to know the ID number of the plane, which is on the side of the plane, impossible to see from below. And the FAA will ask how high and loud the plane was, but they won’t accept any form of data that you could provide.

Where small planes are concerned, the FAA is “by pilots and for pilots.” — Dan Truitt


Why you should tell others when you donate blood

One day the head of HR at work called me into the conference room. He started out by saying that the office wanted to help me with my problem ... that I had been working hard and they felt responsible. He went on to tell me that the office had arranged for me to go to a two-week clinic and the company would pay for it.

It took me awhile to process this conversation, but I eventually asked: “What makes you think I have a problem?” He said people noticed needle marks on my arms and this clinic had the best record for rehabilitating heroin addicts. My health insurance was with the company, so they knew when I had medical services.

At that time, the Red Cross gave donors a donor card that showed the dates of all the blood donations. I reached into my wallet and gave the card to him explaining what it was. He asked if he could copy the card, which I agreed to. He returned relieved and somewhat apologetic. I had noticed upper management looking at me funny for some time, and of course, with the blood donation revelation, that stopped.

The point is this company took responsibility for a problem didn’t exist. It could have gone much differently. What if they felt no obligation and simply dismissed me, and when a future employer called, they gave them a reason that could end a career?

Going forward, I did not wear short sleeve shirts after donating blood, and I always made co-workers aware that I donated blood regularly. — Louis (last-name withheld)


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.