OUR READERS WRITE: Letters from June 22 issue of La Jolla Light: Community needs to respond to homeless issue
I’d like to thank Bill Smith for his clearheaded letter in last week’s issue regarding the homeless people who behave unlawfully and the ridiculous lack of protection, or seemingly any attempt on behalf of the police to discourage these behaviors. No doubt he will get blow back from folks who think it’s unkind to even broach the topic, but most of us are in agreement, and we’re sick and tired of feeling threatened. I grew up in New York City in the 1970s, so I don’t have an idealistic, unrealistic view of what is reasonably tolerable!
Although we need to be tolerant of folks who are down on their luck, or simply choose to live on the streets but obey the laws and don’t create a public hazard, our downtown business district is being destroyed by a growing homeless population that is aggressive and belligerent.
What? you say. Isn’t this inevitable in an affluent coastal community with lovely weather? In that case, I invite you to visit Encinitas and compare their homeless crisis to ours. Do homeless people choose not to live there, or does Encinitas, as an independent entity, simply enforce laws to protect their community?
If you want to see where indulging this will land us, take a drive up to lovely Santa Monica. Then try to sit on a park bench or use their library or shop at the farmers market on the Promenade without being accosted, hassled and screamed at.
A couple of months ago, while walking on Girard Avenue, I noticed a ranting homeless woman (no doubt many of you know who she is) dragging a heaving bag of trash up the street. She obviously spent some time fishing trash out of cans and jamming it into this bag. She then waited for the unsuspecting worker at Fruititude to open the gate. As soon as the gate was up, she screamed at this young lady while upending the trash in front of the cafe. This was a clearly thought-out, disgusting and malicious act. I encouraged the worker to report the incident to the police and gave her my name as a witness. Yet, who do I see screaming at folks every single day since that incident?
There’s an unfortunate soul who has taken refuge on the side steps of the Atheneum Music & Arts Library on Girard Ave. I see him almost every morning, prone and covered with cardboard, urine steaming down from where he sleeps and open containers of alcohol strewn about his feet. How is this OK?
Taxpayers DO deserve a proactive police department! The City of San Diego can’t seem to prioritize and allocate taxes where they’re needed! This is a quality-of-life AND a safety issue!
Have you noticed how the geniuses at City Hall are funneling taxpayer dollars into tearing up existing handicap ramps and replacing them with new and improved ramps with a bumpy yellow metal grid? How about FIRST installing ramps where there they don’t exist and then allocating money to improve the old ramps? This is simply the latest in a string of head-scratching missteps, such as the drawn-out street work in La Jolla Shores and the multimillion, years-in-the-making lifeguard station at The Cove.
Let’s do something as a community and say enough is enough!
Tolerance needed in regard to homeless issue
This letter comes in response to the unjustified complaints about homeless people in La Jolla, referred to as “panhandlers.” I have one short, but important, comment to make: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” — a command based on the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.
La Jolla Resident for over 30 years
The question needs to be asked: When will UCSD expansion end?
The recent article in the La Jolla Light about the threatened loss of our famed Torrey Pines Gliderport due to UC San Diego growth is very troubling. As a La Jolla native of over 50 years and a resident of La Jolla Shores, I have witnessed firsthand the impact of the UCSD expansion over the years.
As a child, my parents hosted local politicians and dignitaries in our home for meetings regarding imposing a 30-foot height limit so that La Jolla did not become Miami Beach with highrises blocking the coastal views in the beautiful amphitheater we call La Jolla. One meeting, in January, 1966, was attended by Justice Willam O. Douglas of the U.S. Supreme Court, who happened to be visiting our beautiful town, and attended the meeting. I have a letter of thanks written by him in 1966. He wrote “what a grand outlook you have! I hope it is always thus.”
These meetings turned into what is now the 1972 Citizens Initiative that passed by 64 percent, creating the coastal 30-foot height restrictions, and eventually, the California Coastal Commission. This year we celebrate 45 years of the coastal height restrictions, which have maintained views and kept traffic down for nearly half a century.
UCSD, however, was able to carve out exemptions from the 30-foot height limit that have abused the public trust. One of many examples is the highrise that was built at the corner of Scripps Grade, as you turn to take the previously breathtaking look at the coastline and The Cove. Their highrise received Coastal Commission approval because we were told, this coastal view would not be impacted.
The coastal and ocean view, one of the finest in the world, was taken when this building was constructed, despite assurances that this would not occur. Just one more story was greedily built. This has forfeited forever UCSD’s “right” to be trusted by the community.
The UCSD exemption was abused again, in a different manner, when the Viterbi Center was built in the coastal region, this time forever ruining ocean views from the homes in La Jolla Heights. Questions still remain on how a private enterprise of a UCSD professor was able to access the UCSD exemption and build what would not otherwise be allowed?
Another egregious building is across the street on Scripps Grade where a mountain was literally moved, with double-trailer dump trucks removing the mountain for months on end, lining up end to end along La Jolla Shores Drive to carry the mountain away so a highrise could be built in that location. This is the power that UCSD has, the power to move mountains and provide buildings at exorbitant expense to the taxpayer. It is epitome of the union labor and political nexus that runs the State of California.
I am writing to speak out, yes, the livability and natural and recreational beauty of La Jolla is threatened by the continued expansion at UCSD! UCSD has brought and continues to bring many wonderful benefits to our region, but the question needs to be asked, when will the expansion end? Why are our treasured coastlines protected everywhere except at UCSD? The time has come to end the exemption UCSD has because the trust we placed in the University to work in concert with our residential community has been broken, and it will not be fixed by an unaccountable bureaucracy.
Traffic is at a critical mass in La Jolla. The fate of the use of the magnificent ocean bluffs above Blacks Beach (some of the most beautiful in the world) is now slated for more highrises and congestion. And yes, the fate of our lives, which is held up in gridlock on La Jolla Shores Drive on a daily basis, is now highly impacted by the hundreds of highrises at UCSD and the threat of even more buildings to come.
Why is it that UCSD, which is supposedly on the cutting-edge of environmental protection, one of the worst offenders? The University does not have the ability to do the soul-searching required to protect our community. It is run at the state level with esteemed architects hired from Los Angeles to provide an urban beauty that is no match to the natural beauty that is being destroyed.
The question remains, what can we do to stop this before our beautiful community is further destroyed? Would great advances in science be possible in a three-story building within one mile of the coastline? What can be more noble than to ask that the University actually practice what it preaches?
We can stand by no more and watch the slow train wreck, which is the University “stewardship” of our precious coastline. The University has proven it is not a steward of the land nor of our community, and it is up to us to demand accountability. Coastal Commission rules should be applied to the land that remains at the University, and we must establish a discourse and appeal to the common goals in preserving the beauty and unique recreational opportunities in La Jolla.
—Cameron Volker is a longtime resident of La Jolla, a member of the State Bar of California and a Broker Associate with Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty.
Is there a plan to deal with UCSD growing pains?
My home is near UC San Diego on La Jolla Shores Drive in La Jolla Farms. I’ve been living here since June 1974. When the City of San Diego allowed UCSD to establish roots on North Torrey Pines Road, that used to be the Mathew Campus and we were told that it would be a small campus only, with maybe 10,000-20,000 students.
Wrong. We were lied to. Institutional encroachment started gradually and caused considerable damage to our way of life in this neighborhood. The noise and the traffic that does not adhere to the posted speed limit is intoleable at times. The City does nothing to curb this infringement.
Out of 10 homes in the section of Azul Street and La Jolla Shores Drive, two are occupied by the owners, while the rest are rented out to students by people who collect thousands of dollars. Many of us in this neighborhood have been trying to fight the screaming, shouting and the debris left behind by partying hordes of kids. Police have been called, but their presence and authority is nothing more than a drop in the bucket.
Adding more and more buildings to the campus has added to the traffic problem we all must endure today. We can no longer stand by and allow more and more buildings, some being 10 stories high, to be added in this area for student living quarters. UCSD has reached the proportions of a city next to La Jolla, the small community I remember when I moved here in 1962. The people need to stem this tide as enough is enough.
Maybe a market for aircraft noise app
You recently ran an article about Chris McCann developing an aircraft noise reporting app for the residents of La Jolla. Does Chris intend to develop an app to help residents of other cities around the United States with similar noise issues? I live in Seattle.
Editor’s Note: Chris McCann has informed the Light that he is making adjustments to the app so people in other cities can use it. Stay tuned.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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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