OUR READERS WRITE: Letters from Sept. 7 issue: What a mess!
La Jolla Murals are an evolving public art project
I’m writing about the request from a recent letter-writer to remove specific murals of the La Jolla Murals collection due to them being “disturbing.”
As it turns out, with one exception that I’ve heard of, the murals are installed with the intent that they will be up for a couple of years and then be replaced with new ones. So, in fact, the murals identified by the writer will come down eventually when their lifespan has ended.
My husband and I are supporters of the murals project and are familiar with its history and management. The Murals Art Advisory Committee is made up of experts from various visual art institutions within our community. With their backgrounds and connections in the contemporary art industry they have been able to reach out to some of the most respected artists of our day to have them participate in the murals project. As it goes with art, any one individual is going to like some works and not like others. But the important thing to know about these murals is that the artists have been well vetted and are nationally, if not internationally, recognized top tier artists. In fact, Mark Bradford, one mural artist, is currently representing the United States at the Venice Biennale.
The writer of the letter requesting the removal of certain installations was concerned about the impression tourists will have of La Jolla as a result of seeing the murals. Cultural tourists that come to our lovely Village will undoubtedly be familiar with some of these artist’s names and will appreciate this outdoor art collection. Will they, or the local residents, like all of them? Maybe not. But how many times will they go to a museum and like everything they see there?
When we have out of town guests we make a point of showing them the La Jolla murals and so far, they all think they’re awesome. By the way, if you go to the Murals of La Jolla website at muralsoflajolla.com, you’ll see you can sign-up for a walking tour to see and learn about them.
‘Three strikes and you’re out!’ rule would
solve short-term rental issues
I attended the Aug. 30 forum at the La Jolla Community Center where Barbara Bry presented her proposed solution to the regulation of Short-Term Vacation Rentals (STVR). It was a bit frustrating, but understandable, as the vast majority of speakers didn’t really address the proposal on the table, but rather their personal stories with regards to the impact of STVR.
We can all agree we want the bad actors in the STVR market gone, including those who participate as hosts in the home-sharing community. While Bry’s proposal attempts to control the length of time, the amount of days, the creation of another bureaucracy to “police” the hosts, how does that stop the weekend parties? The parking issues? In other words, the bad actors?
A far better proposal would be a “three strikes and you’re out!” rule. You have three documentable, legitimate infractions within a six-month period, you’re done. There are no more permits available to you, and if the infractions continue, the homeowner should be fined a considerable sum, or the home condemned. This way we all win.
The good stewards of the community who participate in home-sharing as hosts can continue to supplement their incomes. The City will continue to reap the benefit of much-needed tax revenue. Our State and Federal governments continue to receive income tax dollars as well. Our community, too, receives much-needed tourist dollars from those who dine, shop and play while staying in La Jolla. The majority, in my experience don’t even take up valuable parking, as they bike, uber or walk to The Village and beaches. And most importantly, residents will have their much-deserved serenity.
Quality hosts bring quality people into our community. People who actually add value in economic terms as well as cultural richness, and lifelong friendships.
Linda Van Zandt
SDG&E jack-hammering upsets sleepy neighbors
I have a complaint regarding SDG&E’s work last week on Bonair Street. First, on Monday at 6 p.m., I noticed an SDG&E truck outside my apartment (near the alley by Travel Lodge). I thought nothing of it until 9 p.m. when workers started using a jack hammer. I am a school counselor and wake up daily at 5 a.m., so you can assume I was very upset about this.
When I called the company, I got a rude man on the phone who had no supervisor or manager with whom to connect me. He said he didn’t know why they were doing work. After going down to talk to the men doing the work, it was disclosed that there was a gas leak. Understanding a gas leak is a serious emergency I put on my headphones and went to bed. My fiancé said they were jack-hammering until around midnight. The next night, there was nothing, however, Wednesday at 9 p.m. again comes the jack-hammering. Me, along with at least 10 people from the neighborhood, went outside to investigate. Workers claimed it was an “emergency” again, and one neighbor insisted on them calling the supervisor. The supervisor confirmed it was an emergency. They were outside doing work (with a jack hammer) until 4:15 a.m. I have videos marking the time.
Why were we not notified? If it was a gas leak, why was this not fixed that night or that day? Why are they fixing this AGAIN two days later? Why were they sitting around from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday? Why can’t they do this work during the day?
Our community is very upset by this, and I am even more upset by the response I got from SDG&E. We live in La Jolla because it is a safe, quiet neighborhood, and this is not safe nor quiet. Please publish something about this, as SDG&E needs to know how upset residents are over this incident. I will be following up with the supervisor again today.
Beware of proposed ‘mansionization’ implications
Our community should be diligently following a small but well-connected group of La Jolla residents who have formed a new community group called the “Citizens for Responsible Coastal Development” (CRCD). Our community has heard their mantra before: “Mc Mansions,” “mansionization,” “increased bulk & scale,” “out of character with neighborhood” and “reduction in air space/green space.”
CRCD was formed in 2015 as an ad-hoc committee of the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA), but due to their inability to comply with Brown Act regulations they dissociated and CRCD was formed. Both groups nevertheless, remain resolute to abolish the community’s most affordable and favorite residential remodel approval process the “50 percent coastal exception rule” and replace it with their own “incentive-based zoning” approval process.
Presently, if a homeowner files for a residential remodel, using the affordable and preferred 50 percent coastal exception rule, and maintains 50 percent of their existing exterior walls, the applicant preserves their right to remodel their home to the current .6 Floor Area Ratio (FAR).
The homeowner, furthermore, avoids the lengthy, expensive and subjective LJCPA review process. If the applicant does not maintain 50 percent of their existing exterior walls, the applicant is required to file for a more expensive and time-consuming Coastal Development Permit.
CRCD’s “incentive-based zoning” application process would essentially reduce the homeowner’s FAR from .6 to .4 in La Jolla and Bird Rock. In La Jolla Shores, where there currently is no FAR restriction, CRCD’s incentive-based zoning would now apply. The homeowner would then have to conform to CRCD’s list of design incentives to earn back their right to build their home to the current .6 FAR.
Or the applicant could choose to not incorporate CRCD’s design incentives and process their application through the time- consuming and expensive Coastal Development Permit process.
CRCD’s next step is to present their incentive-based zoning proposal to their former parent group the LJCPA. The LJCPA is recognized by the City Council to make land-use recommendations to the City Council, Planning Commission, and City staff specifically concerning the adoption of amendments to our La Jolla and La Jolla Shores Community Plans.
CRCD’s incentive-based plan will first work itself through City staff, then be presented to the City of San Diego Planning Commission, and finally to City Council. As reported in the May 10, 2017 La Jolla Light, the CRCD members have already meet with Barbara Bry and she has offered her support to their cause. The approval of CRCD’s incentive-based plan, however, is a land-use decision and is considered quasi-judicial, therefore, Bry should have not taken a position for or against CRCD’s plan. Since she has, will she now recuse herself from voting at City Council on this issue?
Past actions of some of the CRCD members reveals this is a classic La Jolla battle between the “have and the have nots.” Incentive-based zoning, not in my backyard!
City contractors leave project unfinished
The issue I raise is both a safety hazard and an ugliness situation that was left behind by contractors hired by the City of San Diego. At the intersection of Gravilla Street and Draper Avenue (on the east side of Draper adjacent to Starkey Mini Park), contractors installed new sewer lines throughout that section of the community more than six months ago. They excavated portions of the sidewalk buffer strip, and I was told they would be filling it back in.
However, this never happened and now there is a large hole about 12 feet long and 4 inches deep that is a definite trip-and-stumble hazard.
Photo 1 clearly shows the current status. Who ever the City contractor was, that company is in neglect of completing the job. It just simply isn’t right that the community is left with this unsafe eyesore after a municipal “improvement” project!
It’s in everyone’s interest to protect ocean views
In reference to the article in the Aug. 24 La Jolla Light on the Dolphin Place project, it’s interesting that Phil Merten’s objections, allegedly “representing a growing number of residents who took exception to the project design,” noted the space and bulk of the proposed project. Perhaps Mr. Merten has had a revelation in the last few years.
About four years ago, he recommended the approval of a proposed 28,000-square-foot residence (subsequently reduced to 19,000-square-feet) in the 9800 block in the La Jolla Farms neighborhood. That home, if it would have been built, would have totally blocked ocean views from a legally established viewpoint, clearly contrary to City of San Diego regulations.
The recommendations to approve that project were objected to (in writing) by 75 of the 84 La Jolla Farms residents who would have been impacted by that development. Nevertheless, the proposed project was ultimately approved by the La Jolla Planning Commission, and subsequently, by the City of San Diego.
Fortunately, the property was sold prior to construction and a beautiful park on the property was established by the new owner. The result has been no degradation of the ocean views, not only for the benefit of the neighborhood, but for all residents and visitors to San Diego.
Thanks, Mr. Merten. You’re helping to make America great again.
La Jolla Cove sea lions are good for business
Why hasn’t La Jolla’s stench problem been fixed? Just follow the money! If the stench-producers are drawing more tourist dollars than La Jolla businesses would have without them, then why would the businesses want to remove them?
Schools should offer more ‘Meatless Mondays’
More than 31 million children rely on school meals for their daily nutrition, which too often consists of highly processed food laden with saturated fat. Not surprisingly, one-third of our children have become overweight or obese. Their early dietary flaws become lifelong addictions, raising their risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke. To compound the problem, the Trump administration has loosened Obama’s 2010 school lunch rules calling for whole grains, fat-free milk and reduced salt content. The rules had an 86-percent approval rating.
Fortunately, many school districts now offer vegetarian options. More than 120 schools, including the entire districts of Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Oakland, Philadelphia and San Diego have implemented Meatless Monday. As parents, we need to involve our own children and school cafeteria managers in promoting plant-based foods in our schools. Entering “vegan options in schools” in a search engine provides lots of useful resources.
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 email@example.com or mail them to La Jolla Light Editor, 565 Pearl St., Suite 300, La Jolla, CA 92037. Letters do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the newspaper staff or publisher.
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