Our Readers Write: Walter Munk house, Cove maintenance, seagull chicks, ‘The Map,’ more


Letters to the editor

Letters to the editor:

Preserve Walter Munk’s house for science

I am an oceanographer from Cambridge University in England, and like hundreds of other oceanographers worldwide, I was a personal friend of Walter Munk and found him to be the greatest inspiration for my career as a scientist.

More than a living legend, he was a living god to us lesser scientists. Many is the time that we have stayed in Seiche [Munk’s La Jolla home] and learned directly from Walter how he built the house with his own hands and to the design of his [then-]wife, Judith, whose sculptures adorn the walls.

He was pleased to be able to donate the house to UC San Diego to be used after his death as perhaps a new director’s house for Scripps [Institution of Oceanography], carrying on the tradition begun by that other great oceanographer Harald Sverdrup.

You can imagine our sense of outrage and betrayal to learn that not only is Scripps ignoring the meaning of that marvelous gift but is treading it into the dirt by putting the house up for sale (“UC San Diego to sell La Jolla former home of oceanographer Walter Munk,” July 22, La Jolla Light).

Walter undoubtedly would have been outraged. If he had known that Scripps was planning to sell his house to the highest bidder, he would never have given it to them but left it to his marvelously supportive wife, Mary.

Walter’s hope was that if the house was not suitable to be the director’s home, it could be used for an appropriate oceanographic purpose, e.g., as an ocean policy center or equivalent think tank for Scripps.

It is not too late to do this. Like everything in La Jolla, all that is needed is money. Surely a group of like-minded and reasonably affluent ocean enthusiasts could come together, either form a foundation or use an existing one like the Walter Munk Foundation [for the Oceans] and buy the house for science. It seems that the asking price could be $2.7 million to $3.1 million, not huge by local standards for such a historic property.

In its role as an ocean policy or study center, it would generate a distinguished second career for itself, and with Walter’s name attached to it, it would bring still greater fame to La Jolla.

Peter Wadhams

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Give La Jolla Cove the proper maintenance it deserves

Reader Jerry Sweeney photographed these sprinklers near La Jolla Cove.
(Jerry Sweeney)

On July 12 on my daily walk I encountered once again extreme overwatering near The Cove, and everyone had to wade through up to two inches of water.

It appears that the [San Diego] parks department hasn’t gotten the message that we are in a drought. I have contacted them several times in the past and get a thank you for bringing it to their attention, but nothing happens.

The overwatering is only one part of the problem where we are not properly maintaining this true gem in our community. There are massive places where the grass has not been maintained and has turned to dirt. The La Jolla Cove Bridge Club building is peeling and rusting and appears it has not been maintained.

Before we go and add new amenities like the bocce ball court [at the La Jolla Recreation Center], I think we should be taking care of our existing properties first. La Jolla Cove, with its sea lions and phenomenal views and beach, is a world-class amenity and should be treated with the respect it deserves.

Let’s hope with the completion of the new bathroom facilities that the landscaping is updated and the proper maintenance program is put in place, not only for the landscaping but for the Bridge Club building.

Jerry Sweeney

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Don’t move seagull chicks as they develop ability to fend for themselves

I’ve noticed a lot of seagull chicks (fledglings is the proper term) coming down from nesting in La Jolla rooftops. I can view four different nests with two to three chicks each from my apartment. These gulls are not yet fully developed and cannot move quickly so are finding themselves on porches, patios, alleys and streets. They can glide down to streets but don’t have strength to fly up again for another one to three weeks.

I recently saw two gull chicks as roadkill in The Village. My neighbor called me to ask what he should do with a chick that landed on his balcony, seemingly stranded.

This had me call the San Diego Humane Society wildlife rescue, which told me of this being a natural occurrence and it’s best to move around them, not move them, as the parent will still feed them until they get strong enough to fly. The Humane Society will only pick up chicks if injured.

If you see any injured birds or animals, call the San Diego Humane Society at (619) 299-7012.

Tina Mertel

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‘The Map’ is a jewel of beauty and knowledge

The Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla depicts and provides information about local marine life.
(Daniel K. Lew)

The Map [of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla] at La Jolla Shores is one of the most beautiful and inspirational installations of public art in recent history. Not only is it beautiful, but it is embedded with so much thought and knowledge — every generation, from 2-year-olds to 120-year-olds, can enjoy the artistry and learning.

It connects the old-school mastery of mosaic media with a mastery of the knowledge of our local ocean and sea life and expands all this into the digital age, where the public can scan QRs on their smartphone and get an in-depth read on any of the sea creatures and beyond.

“The Map” should be given an Orchid Award [from the San Diego Architectural Foundation] and we should all be so blessed by the folks who have made this happen for all of our enjoyment in perpetuity. It is exactly projects like these — completed in our public realm — that help make La Jolla yet more beautiful.

Trace Wilson

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Let’s slow down for student walkers and bikers

Schools will be opening Aug. 30. Please drive slowly in The Village, especially on Fay Avenue.

There are five schools and hundreds of children between Nautilus and Pearl streets. We are asking for our community to come together to provide a safe environment for our kids to walk and ride bikes to school.

There is a lot of pedestrian and vehicle traffic during school arrival (7:30-9 a.m.) and dismissal (2-3 p.m.). Let’s give ourselves patience, grace and a few extra minutes to our commute in order to keep our children safe in the streets as they excitedly head back to school this fall.

Andrea Esajian

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Is California losing its luster? Maybe so

The article “Is California losing its luster? UC San Diego survey says no” (July 15, La Jolla Light) reports a recent UCSD study showing that 23 percent — reported as “less than a quarter of survey respondents” — were seriously considering leaving the state.

That’s almost 25 percent, or one in every four residents. I’d say that’s a significant number!

Pete Ward

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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 The deadline is 10 a.m. Monday for publication in that week’s paper. Letters without the writer’s name cannot be published. Letters from the same person are limited to one in a 30-day period. ◆