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Opinion

Our Readers Write: La Jollans speak out about lack of fire preparedness, delayed Shores map, Su Casa Mexican Restaurant closing

Shell Beach La Jolla-jpg.jpg
Question for La Jollans: I recently visited Shell Beach. The large rocks were piled up at the bottom of the steps. Sometimes they are there and sometimes they are not. I’m sure that they are placed there to prevent beach erosion during certain seasons of the year. However, I was wondering, how are they moved there? — Rhonda Jensen
(Photo by Rhonda Jensen)

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 matters. 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. Submissions of related photos are also welcome. Letters reflect the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of the newspaper staff or publisher.

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Question for La Jollans

I recently visited Shell Beach. The large rocks were piled up at the bottom of the steps, pictured above. Sometimes they are there and sometimes they are not. I’m sure that they are placed there to prevent beach erosion during certain seasons of the year. However, I was wondering, how are they moved there?

Rhonda Jensen

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Serious lack of fire management in the Village of La Jolla

I read the Oct. 17, 2019 La Jolla Light article about La Jolla Town Council honoring first responders and I think you’re missing the real story. How galling that the Deputy Fire Chief tells audience members of the need for self management of the brush on Mt. Soledad. I have lived here for 15 years and have never gotten any notice about brush clearance or even seen an inspector. I lived in a hillside area of Los Angeles for years and we got a notice when we needed to clear the brush around our homes. It included the date of the inspection and the fact that any brush not cleared would be done by the city with the cost put on our property bills.

I also read that the City is short on fire inspectors. Why not look into other resources to send out notices? We all get utility bills and there’s the mail.

And then came the comment from Fire & Rescue that they are concerned. Are you familiar with the lack of evacuation routes on the hillside? Have you ever tried getting down the north side of the hill down Via Capri and Hidden Valley where the traffic is backed up for blocks? And this is on a weekday morning! These are narrow two-lane streets. How are we all going to get out in an emergency? Will officials ensure that the electricity is left on? I have quite a few elderly people in my neighborhood. I can’t open my garage door and I’m sure they can’t either.

And who owns the other properties — the area around Mt. Soledad Cross, the antenna property on the hill top, the land around the bunkers left over from WWII — besides the homeowners? Is it the City of San Diego, the State of California, the Federal government? I just sent a note to City Council member Barbara Bry regarding a canyon between Soledad Road and Calle Delicada (off Alta La Jolla) that is filled with dead brush, trees and foliage growing right up to the back of homes. One house has turned over four times in recent years. I’m sure brush clearance was not on the new homeowner’s mind.

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Why doesn’t La Jolla Light step up and take the lead? There will be no “Village of La Jolla” if there is a major catastrophe — no local shopping, no tourists visiting, and beautification projects will be the least of our worries. La Jolla is part of the City of San Diego. I have a property bill for thousands of dollars sitting on my desk. If there is a major fire, there will be no taxes for them to collect. Hope the next article is not highlighting what a great job the first responders did after the fact.

Name withheld by request

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The ‘Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla Educational Plaza’ is in development at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography’s former, emptied Southwest Science Fisheries building. The hold-up is more fundraising and an all-clear from California Coastal Commission.
(Courtesy)

It’s sad The Map is being delayed

I found the Oct. 24 La Jolla Light article about the delays to the installation of the new Kellogg Park “Map” disturbing and baffling. How on Earth can a replacement of a flat map — or mural — that is a clear addition to the Shores park get wrapped up in the Coastal Commission and City approvals? This is government run amok. It’s an embarrassment this red tape exists.

Tony Pauker

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Scooter Blockade La Jolla Oct 2019-cropped-jpg.jpg
Scooter blockade: This photograph was taken on Saturday morning, Oct. 26, 2019 near my house on the 7800 block of Exchange Place. The sidewalk is completely blocked by these electric scooters. Isn’t this against the law? — Guido Baccaglini
(Photo by Guido Baccaglini)
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Scooter blockade

This photograph (pictured above) was taken on Saturday morning, Oct. 26, 2019 near my house on the 7800 block of Exchange Place. The sidewalk is completely blocked by these electric scooters. Isn’t this against the law?

Guido Baccaglini

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Parkway overpass is a good idea

I agree that spanning the La Jolla Parkway with an overpass to connect La Jolla Scenic Drives North and South, that was approved long ago by the City of San Diego, should be done (as reported in the Oct. 24 La Jolla Light.) It is a logical solution to our terrible traffic that only gets worse.

The overpass would benefit far more people, including the emergency vehicles from our fire station right in the middle of all the congestion, than it would inconvenience. I think Mr. Abrams, in his role as Traffic & Transportation board chair, is being short-sighted and I applaud resident Lance Petro for his time and preparation, including presenting a copy of the 1972 City plans for the project.

Alicia Quackenbush

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La Jolla Cluster needs to be a stronger advocate for La Jolla students

The United States Census is used to document numbers of residents, but it’s not responsible for declining enrollment in La Jolla’s secondary schools. No wonder the recent La Jolla Cluster meeting included a new San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) administrator, whose title is “Chief of Leadership & Learning.”

Apparently, one of the roles is to “explain district-wide issues,” not the staunch decline and fall in the quality of local education.

In La Jolla Light’s Oct. 24, 2019 story, the principal reports fewer kids are showing up at Muirlands Middle School and that sets in motion a district-mandated downward spiral at both Muirlands and neighboring La Jolla High. Last-hired (newest) teachers are let go per teacher’s union contract rules. Academic programs are cut.

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In listing academic losses, LJHS Principal Podhorsky forgot to mention that Ninth Grade World History also was dropped this Fall — a sore subject with me, which I addressed in this format last spring.

Muirlands Middle and La Jolla High should be better protected from the fallout because they have been high-achieving models for the entire school system for years.

La Jolla public schools attract strong teachers and a multi-racial student enrollment — also diminished lately by SDUSD restrictions in the Choice program.

La Jolla public schools have a long history of community generosity and volunteer involvement. We need more resistance and effective advocacy from the La Jolla Cluster — the reasons it was founded in the first place.

Frances O’Neill Zimmerman

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La Jolla Christmas Parade Foundation loses a leader

It is our sad duty to let the La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival community know that our longtime parade administrator, Patricia Wells, passed away in late September. Pat was a quiet presence whose diligence and skills were responsible in large part for our well-organized and safe community event for over a decade.

Through numerous e-mails, phone calls and faxes — from permits, fundraising, parade registration, port-a-potties, street sweepers, canines, horses, floats, beauty queens, fire engines and camels — she did it all and with a cheerful demeanor and kind words.

Pat never sought the spotlight and refused recognition. She can no longer refuse. In her honor, this year, we will have a “Tribute to Pat Wells” at the Holiday Festival. A special banner for Pat will be carried in the parade by an honor guard. Please share your memories of Pat through e-mail to memories@ljparade.com

Ann Kerr Bache, President
Charles Hartford, Vice President
La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival Foundation

— Editor’s Note: The 2019 La Jolla Christmas Parade will commence 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 8 along Girard Avenue; preceded by a Holiday Festival 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of Athenaeum Music & Arts Library, 1008 Wall St. Learn more at ljparade.com

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La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee at its Dec. 15, 2015 meeting, approved plans to demolish Su Casa Mexican Restaurant and an adjacent apartment complex at La Jolla Boulevard and Playa Del Sur Street, and replace them with a two-story mixed-use building, two-story residential building, and three-story residential building with an underground parking garage. The last day of business for Su Casa Mexican Restaurant was Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019 and is now permanently closed.
La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee at its Dec. 15, 2015 meeting, approved plans to demolish Su Casa Mexican Restaurant and an adjacent apartment complex at La Jolla Boulevard and Playa Del Sur Street, and replace them with a two-story mixed-use building, two-story residential building, and three-story residential building with an underground parking garage. The last day of business for Su Casa Mexican Restaurant was Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019 and is now permanently closed.
(Photo by Daniel K. Lew)

Adíos Amigos! Su Casa Mexican Restaurant closing permanently Monday, Oct. 28, 2019

Our journey with Su Casa began 33 years ago, when we decided to buy the restaurant from Marshall Pellar, who established it in 1967. As we plunged in and got to work, Su Casa became more than a business to us, it literally was our second home!

We kept many of the original recipes, knowing that our local customers were fond of them, but we also began introducing many other authentic dishes from Mexico City. We stopped using lard in all of our dishes and added several vegetarian plates, including our famous tableside guacamole, which was always a hit.

During all these years, we laughed, we cried, we celebrated and had the opportunity to meet and learn from wonderful people from many walks of life. We hired La Jolla High School students, UCSD graduates and members of the Windansea surfing community — all of whom made a great contribution to this establishment.

Today, we would like to thank the loyal members of our staff who have been with us for many years. Among them are our servers, Jose Torres and Jesus ChavezChuy,” and Jorge Mungia, as well as our enthusiastic manager, Karen Valenzuela.

We’re proud to say that there are members of our team who have been with Su Casa even before we came on board! Everyone knows Salvador, the cheerful and humble waiter, also known as “Chavita,” who has provided great service and made thousands of customers happy over the years.

Then, there is Su Casa’s very own guardian angel, Ruth Evert, whose love for the place never wavered. Ruth has always thought of every detail, and found ways to improve the customer experience and keep the restaurant’s traditions alive.

We’d also like to mention our secret recipe. Namely, the cooks, who have worked really hard and amazingly fast behind the scenes, making sure the food came out warm and delicious. These include Juan Carlos Alvarez, Melecio Medina and Aquileo Ramirez, along with our wonderful cook Ramoncito, who retired a few years ago, and the late Salvador Hernandez, who was known as The Godfather of the many staff members who hailed from Cotija, Michoacan Mexico. We are incredibly grateful for their loyalty and dedication throughout the years.

We would also like to give a special thanks to our accountant Elsian Contreras, who also has been with us from the beginning, providing the wisdom and skills that have helped us to be a successful business for all of these years.

But most of all, we want to thank our loyal customers, locals and tourists who have kept coming back, year after year, to enjoy Su Casa’s food, ambiance and service. There are those who came here as teenagers and have continued to come, now with their grandchildren. There are people who have chosen our restaurant to celebrate weddings, anniversaries, birthdays and graduations — the most important events in their lives.

And then there are the customers who have provided priceless feedback over the years, which helped us to improve and continue to thrive. Our journey with Su Casa has been truly wonderful. But even the most wonderful journeys have to end in order to give way to new adventures.

We are very proud to say that even after 52 years, our beloved Su Casa Restaurant is still a favorite for many customers in La Jolla. It was an honor to receive the La Jolla Light Readers Poll Awards for Best Mexican Restaurant and Best Margarita just this year. It feels wonderful to be able to end on such a sweet note!

Thank you so much for your support over the years!

Su Casa management team

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GoFundMe account started for Su Casa restaurant worker

Dear community, neighbors and patrons: If you haven’t heard the news, Su Casa Mexican Restaurant and Seafood Grotto on La Jolla Boulevard served its authentic Sonoran Mexican fare for the last time Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019 and has closed permanently. After 47 years, 65-year-old longtime employee and Master Guacamole Chef (and neighbor) Salvador Hernandez Lopez will be semi-retiring, until his second career comes to fruition. All of us who know Sal hope he isn’t forced into retirement for too long.

Sal is not only a friend; he’s a mentor. He’s gracious, so kind, generous and filled with heaps of humility and love. He doesn’t drink, never owned a car and has lived in the same studio apartment (at Windansea) from which he walks to and from work — and until the last few years — shared with his brother.

For patrons and neighbors of Su Casa, I’ve started this GoFundMe account at gf.me/u/v3kydw or gofundme.com/f/sal039s-retirement-fund if you’d like to contribute to his retirement. Sal is one of my closest friends.

Even though, through his faith and positive attitude, he isn’t worried about his retirement, I’m aware of the upcoming challenges, being familiar with the circumstances. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at krcroteau@yahoo.com

(Mary Ann) K Croteau

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Philanthropists and The San Diego Foundation boost community

More than 250 philanthropists attended The San Diego Foundation’s annual meeting Sept. 17, 2019 at The Conrad in La Jolla. The Foundation awarded more than $52 million in grants to the nonprofit community in Fiscal Year 2019. Grantmaking supported 1,740 nonprofit organizations with 5,667 individual grants to a variety of social impact areas, including: $16.7 million for Health & Human Services, $14.5 million for Education, $7.8 million for Arts & Culture, $4.8 million for Civil Society, $3.6 million for the Environment, and $1.9 million for Youth Development. Learn more at sdfoundation.org

The San Diego Foundation

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What’s on YOUR mind?

Letters published in La Jolla Light express views from readers in regard to community matters. 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. Submissions of related photos are also welcome. Letters reflect the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of the newspaper staff or publisher.


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