Our Readers Write: Puesto, business changes, West Muirlands house, beach fires, short-term renters, city seal

Puesto on Wall Street has applied to extend the use of street parking spaces for outdoor dining for up to five years.
Puesto La Jolla restaurant on Wall Street has applied for a “placemaking pedestrian plaza” that would extend the use of street parking spaces for outdoor dining for up to five years.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Letters to the editor


Letters to the editor:

Puesto and larger Wall Street plans are great ideas

The recent proposal by Puesto restaurant on Wall Street to keep its current outdoor seating patio for the next five years is a great idea (“Puesto La Jolla restaurant seeks to extend outdoor dining on Wall Street parking spaces for five years,” April 15, La Jolla Light).

Due to COVID restrictions, many restaurants in The Village have built temporary outdoor seating areas in parking spots directly in front of their restaurants over the past few months. A walk in The Village these days, or evenings, will show you how popular these have become. These outdoor seating areas have added a nice feel to The Village.

What truly needs to happen is the idea that the Vision La Jolla plan has suggested, which is turning Wall Street into a pedestrian-only street/walkway between Girard and Herschel avenues.

In fact, the same should be done on Girard Avenue between Prospect and Silverado streets.

Anyone who has been to Santa Monica and seen what it did with the Third Street Promenade knows how a pedestrian-only street in a village can completely change the character of the area. Other cities that have done similar things are San Antonio, with the River Walk, and Boulder, Colo., with the Pearl Street Mall. In all of these cases, the cities reported a total revitalization of their downtown areas.

It appears that La Jolla Shores has seen the benefits of closing a street to cars, as it is now looking to permanently close part of Avenida de la Playa to allow for outdoor seating to continue.

By closing these few blocks in The Village to cars, there would be room for restaurants to have outdoor seating and musicians to play, and also benches and areas for people to meet and sit and enjoy The Village. The summer tourists staying in The Village would have reason to stay there all evening long.

The biggest complaint will be the loss of some parking spaces, but there is plenty of parking available in garages around The Village. There has also been talk of a multilayered parking structure behind the large Union Bank building.

There will never be enough street parking on Girard and Wall Street anyway.

I hope the La Jolla merchants and restaurants will band together and take this opportunity to revitalize our Village and turn it into a true pedestrian village by closing a few blocks to cars and in doing so, change the character of The Village into that of an inviting place to sit and stroll and eat and socialize. Due to COVID, the restaurants have all moved outdoors and have proved how popular that idea is with the public.

Tony Schmidt

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Time to stop giving away Village parking spaces

I find it fascinatingly ironic that a village inhabited by citizens who get worked up about out-of-place electric scooters is inclined to approve a local restaurant’s attempt to steal public land “Proposed Puesto plaza gets La Jolla merchants group’s support; others are uneasy,” April 22, La Jolla Light).

Puesto’s request for any special permissions, especially those extending years into the future, is way out of line. The temporary seating area at Puesto is not attractive by any measure, and it is occupying parking spaces that are already too hard to find. I would think this attempt by a private company to play a “reverse eminent domain” game on property supported by La Jolla citizens and tourism would be met by lawsuits, not applause.

Please stop giving away parking spaces! Downtown La Jolla already loses too much business to “the malls,” thanks to our parking problems.

Jim Smith

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Balance what’s good for businesses with what’s good for the community

The recent article about the changes businesses have made to survive the effects of COVID was timely and well-received (“La Jolla businesses post-pandemic: hand sanitizer, cleaning protocols, outdoor dining?” April 22, La Jolla Light).

However, the owner of Pannikin was quoted as saying that she now has a drive-through, which she didn’t have before. This is nice for her and the business, but it should be noted that the traffic created by this drive-through (not to mention the fumes and exhaust from idling cars) has become a nuisance, especially now with increased traffic in the area from reopened schools.

I mention this to emphasize that there needs to be a balance between keeping businesses going and keeping our streets open and available to all.

Bill Smith

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House on West Muirlands would set a bad precedent

Regarding 1395 W. Muirlands Drive (“Community Planning Association wants permit revoked for La Jolla project after stop-work order is issued,” April 8, La Jolla Light):

I drive by that T-section sporadically on my way to La Jolla Shores from Cardeno. I honestly thought the building was an office building and wondered how the builders received a commercial permit in a residential-zoned area.

Most importantly, if this gets approved, it will set a precedent for any future such constructions.

Cornelia Reddy

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Don’t enact new beach fire bans; enforce existing laws

Remnants from a beach fire in the sand at Marine Street Beach.

Regarding the article about prohibiting wood or charcoal barbecues at the beach (“Local efforts to ban wood and charcoal beach fires get Town Council support,” April 15, La Jolla Light):

I can understand why beach neighborhood residents would rather not have fires on the beach. Fires in the sand can leave potentially dangerous, still-burning coals that people can step on barefoot, and they dirty the sand. But there are already laws against this that need to be enforced, rather than enacting yet more laws that will be ignored and not enforced.

The idea that propane barbecues would provide the same beach fire experience without the problems is erroneous. The propane fire pit shown in your photo is way too cumbersome and heavy to be hauled down to the beach. Using propane for cooking doesn’t provide nearly the same flavor as charcoal, and a propane fire doesn’t burn with the same flames and atmosphere as wood.

I live a block from Windansea Beach and have been charcoal barbecuing there for 43 years now, using a fire-approved metal barbecue. (My family has been doing the same thing since 1951.) Afterward, the lid clamps on, the coals are snuffed out and are taken home for disposal. There is no danger and no mess in the sand.

It’s never fair to allow the irresponsible actions of a few to spoil the enjoyment of the responsible majority. Instead, the prohibition against fires in the sand should be enforced. I realize there’s been an increase in the number of beach fires lately, due to pandemic-related business closures. Young people have turned to the beaches in order to have a place to go and party. I see this daily. But it would be just as effective to enforce existing laws as to enact more laws that take away our freedoms.

John Welsh

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Sea Lane area has problems, but renters aren’t one of them

The recent letter from a winter home renter from Philadelphia disturbed me (“Renters support La Jolla and shouldn’t be unwelcome,” Letters to the Editor, April 15, La Jolla Light). That someone would have the gall to complain about a renter on Sea Lane in the Barber Tract is frivolous because it is a minor problem.

I have lived at the corner of Monte Vista and Sea Lane for 45 years. The major problems in this area are illegal beach fires, drifting smoke from beach fires, loud beach parties, traffic congestion after sunset when visitors leave in droves, speeding, loud mufflers, parking in the afternoon, petty theft and vandalism, and no public toilets. If ya gotta go, where do ya go?

I know of at least a half-dozen rentals within a block of my home. The only problem I notice are young kids laughing when they are playing in a swimming pool. That is not my concept of a problem worthy of complaining about.

I offer my apologies to the Spence family for having run across a narrow-minded La Jolla resident who thinks our beaches should be reserved for locals. Our beaches draw folks from around the world and are open to all for free.

David Valentine

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‘Great institution’ doesn’t justify seizure of land

Thanks to Chloe Dore Gomes for her beautiful and articulate letter to the editor (“LaCava deserves praise on city seal stance,” April 22, La Jolla Light).

I was also shocked to see that some community members oppose a change to the San Diego seal. I was even more shocked at their logic — that theft, violence, persecution are all somehow justifiable if you have a “great institution” a century later.

I suspect that reader wouldn’t feel the same if his property were seized to build a science lab.

Sara Clemence

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What’s on YOUR mind?

Letters published in the La Jolla Light express views from readers about community matters. Submissions of related photos also are welcome. Letters reflect the writers’ opinions and not necessarily those of the newspaper staff or publisher. Letters are subject to editing for brevity, clarity and accuracy. To share your thoughts in this public forum, email them with your first and last names and city or neighborhood of residence to You also can submit a letter online at Letters without the writer’s name cannot be published. Letters from the same person are limited to one in a 30-day period. ◆