OUR READERS WRITE: Underwater graveyard story was an interesting read


I’ve been diving in La Jolla for over 17 years and reading Corey Levitan’s Dec. 21 piece on the Bottom Scratchers was the first I had heard of this underwater “graveyard” (actually stone memorials) for the founding members. You might be interested to know that on the Yukon (the 366-foot-long Canadian warship purchased by the City of San Diego and sunk off of Mission Beach in 2000), there are two memorial plaques for a couple of San Diego divers.

The first is a nicely engraved bronze memorial to diving instructor Steve Donathan, who died inside the Yukon in 2005, and the second is a carved head likeness of one of the divers who helped prepare the Yukon for sinking in 2000. Both memorials get covered with algae and must be cleaned on a periodic basis by area divers.

The photo supplied shows a late friend of ours, Jim Kinane, a technical diver who worked for NOAA at the time, polishing the plaque for Steve Donathan, an instructor who died inside the Yukon in 2005. The plaque is on the forward-facing section of the Captain’s Bridge at about 80 feet.

There’s an interesting backstory about the diver in the photo: Since Jim Kinane was an avid diver, after he passed away in 2011, a bunch of us got together and mixed his ashes in a cement container that we placed underwater at an undisclosed location off Point Loma. We also purchased a “plot” of ocean from the Terra Mar project and named it after him. I have photos I took documenting the placement of the ashes at 80 feet.

Michael Bear

Citizen Science Project Director,

Lawsuit against La Jolla MAD is a tragedy for The Village

I just read that some foolish property owner in The Village sued over the new La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) and has won an injunction to stop the MAD from beginning its work this month. Our once beautiful Village is no longer “The Jewel.” Our La Jolla streets and sidewalks are dirty, our trash cans are filthy and overflowing, and our landscaping is pathetic. This once beautiful Village is now a disgrace. And just when the people and businesses were ready to begin to restore its luster, a short-sighted business owner(s) who it seems are only worried about spending a few extra dollars each year, have sued to stop any progress.

Without the MAD, how is the Village going to get back to the beautiful Village it once was? Does anyone really think that the very mismanaged, and extremely oversized City of San Diego, is going to sweep in and rescue La Jolla? You must be kidding. This City is way too large to ever get its house in order, and the last area it is worried about “fixing” is La Jolla. Del Mar figured this out decades ago and wisely split into its own city. Now Del Mar is the new La Jolla, with clean streets and a beautiful Village, etc.

The City will never do anything to clean up the Village of La Jolla. The only two options are to separate into our own city (longshot at best), or we do the next best thing and set up our own MAD to take things into our own hands. There are so many things that our Village needs and they are not going to fix themselves. Ironically, these same business owners who sued to stop the MAD are the ones who would benefit most from all the great things the MAD could do. If you need proof, drive through Bird Rock. It used to be an ugly strip of rundown shops. Now it is a nice, walk-able set of stores, businesses and restaurants. (The Bird Rock MAD is truly a success story.)

I read that someone at La Jolla Light is a main proponent of the MAD. Please have that person print an article soon that explains how the citizens of La Jolla can fight back and demand that the MAD be operational by the spring.

Terrance Schmidt

La Jolla Light Publisher’s Note: A group of dedicated La Jollans toiled unselfishly for more than three years to establish a MAD in The Village. Members of the La Jolla Community Foundation donated more than a quarter of a million dollars to underwrite the legal, marketing and engineering costs. And yes, one individual commercial property owner on Prospect Street sued and a Superior Court judge didn’t see the MAD’s special benefits.

While Enhance La Jolla, the 501 (c)3 established to manage the MAD and undertake capital improvements, has a direct interest in the outcome of the lawsuit, it is the City of San Diego that is a party to the suit and must defend the MAD. At this juncture, the next step would be for the City Attorney to recommend that the City Council vote to appeal the decision to the Fourth District Court of Appeals. Appeals of this kind usually take about 18 months to be completed.

Enhance La Jolla and the La Jolla Community Foundation are still committed to revitalizing our Village. We have been from the beginning and still are in it for the long-haul. This judgment is a delay, but not the final act. So keep your letters coming, they help.

Phyllis Pfeiffer

Good-going Steel and Sandoval!

I just read the article in your Dec. 28 issue about Kevin Steel and Aiden Sandoval picking up trash in the WindanSea neighborhood over winter break. I’d like to thank them and their parents for instilling and practicing these good behaviors that benefit us all.

My parents stopped and made me pick up litter when I was about 7, after seeing me let a paper go out of our station wagon window just to watch it fly! I get it; I still pick up litter a few times a week.

I found a dollar bill this week as a result and laughed out loud. Imagine if more parents and kids pitched in. The new trash can near Muirlands Middle School is an excellent idea as well. If you don’t have the City’s Get It Done app, you should install it. It is a great way to help improve our City, from reporting trash to graffiti, potholes and over-watering incidents. There are many ways we can help San Diego help our community and it is easy!

Chris Cott

Touching report on homeless resident

I want to commend your paper and reporter Corey Levitan for the recent in-depth portrayal of Ronnie Profeta, a homeless resident of La Jolla. It was clear to me that Levitan asked all the right questions, did the research and thoughtfully wrote the article. Kudos!

Anne Podney

Glad to know Rec Center will improve

Regarding the article in Dec. 21 La Jolla Light about purchases planned by the La Jolla Rec Center board: As a user of the Rec Center gym/weight room, it was nice to read that the La Jolla center is getting some needed attention. In addition to the planned improvements, it would be good if a small amount of money could be allotted for someone to sweep/vacuum/mop the floors of the gym/weight room at least twice a week. In addition, since the flooring consists of separate squares, it would be good if the torn squares were replaced. Only the damaged pieces would need to be fixed, not the whole floor.

Ina B

Try recycling holiday ‘scraps’ into fun items

Now that Christmas has passed and people are throwing away packaging, ribbons, boxes, cards, bottles and what not, I’d like everyone to take a minute and think about recycling. By recycling, I don’t mean sorting stuff and putting it in the right trash bin. I mean recycle your throwaways!

It’s come to my attention that people in the southern suburbs of Cape Town make usable objects from recyclable materials. Very ingenious objects. There are even catalogs where one can buy these objects. Why throw away things if you can make use of them?

Instead of contributing to the humongous waste, learn how to make things. It’s very therapeutic. We’ve become a throw-away society that doesn’t cherish the unusual and we do not use our hands to create unique objects. Perhaps this should be taught in the elementary schools so we make our children aware of the environment instead of giving them cell phones to fill their hours.

Another thing comes to mind ... all this waste of Christmas trees. Why not use artificial trees that can be used again and again? Having said this, I wish everyone a very Happy New Year.

Peggy Hinaekian


In the Dec. 28 La Jolla Light article “DPR approves more Hillside construction,” the address for the vacant plot green-lit for coastal development, site development and sewer easement dedication permits was listed as 7520 Hillside Drive. The plot, which does not yet have an address, is actually north and adjacent to that address.

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.