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Our Readers Write: Road conditions, coastal closures, Scripps Park

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Letters to the editor:

Road series shows La Jolla needs to go its own direction

I have been a long-term resident of La Jolla as well as owning a business on Prospect Street for many years. My career was in journalism and communications, so I have a fairly good appreciation for the hard work, interviewing, checking and rechecking facts.

Over the years I have seen the La Jolla Light blossom in its journalistic coverage and efforts, but perhaps never better than the public service and excellent reporting in the six-part series regarding La Jolla’s roads. (Read the entire series online at bit.ly/3rwschA.)

Special recognition needs to be acknowledged for the management and reporters Ashley Mackin-Solomon and Elisabeth Frausto for this series.

Park Row, a few blocks east of La Jolla Cove, has cracks and uneven surfaces.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Personally, I feel the focus of this series is very appropriate but begs for a larger look. One need not have lived here since the mid-‘70s, as we have, to see the tarnishing of the Jewel. Curbs, weeds, filth, the disgraceful lack of police presence, etc., can be seen everywhere, despite the valiant efforts by many La Jollans at beautification and refurbishment.

The ugly truth is that La Jolla residents pay disproportionately in taxes for a failed plan of a whole large metropolis. Stated simply, and in my opinion, La Jolla needs to get out of the clutches of the city of San Diego and chart its own course. I know this has been tried and failed, but given what has and is happening, isn’t it time that we all take a fresh look at fixing the core problem?

In the meantime, the La Jolla Light has added a bit of luster to the Jewel. Kudos.

Ken Smith

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What’s happening to state money for road repairs?

I read with interest your recent article regarding La Jolla street conditions and comparison with other similarly situated California communities (“Roadblocks to Repair: Series, Part 5 — A road trip across California,” April 7, La Jolla Light).

If I may, I believe that a languishing subject for a further investigation would be how and where California’s increased gas tax and transportation improvement fund money is being allocated and spent. It is now four years since California began to assess so-called TIF fees pursuant to SB1 based on vehicle value ranging from $25 to $175 per year, in addition to other registration and license fees as well as the 12-cents-a-gallon hike in gas tax (20 cents a gallon for diesel).

Since their inception, the TIF fees have increased pursuant to SB1 provisions about 12 percent. My informal investigation indicates that the California Department of Transportation is receiving between $2 billion and $3 billion a year in increased revenue over prior funding levels.

Where is all that money going? And why isn’t more of it going to regional and local agencies to use in repairing county and city streets? The answer I believe in both instances is, nobody really knows. A study about two years ago by a Stanford faculty member sought to determine how much tax revenue was generated and how much was spent on what but was inconclusive.

Unfortunately, SB1 allocates 50 percent of revenue to expansion of mass transit and bicycle corridors, which as we all know, only a small minority of people use with any regularity. So by design, only half of funds raised ultimately will go to road repair or improvements that benefit the majority.

Ultimately, I think most people forget about the billions of dollars they are taxed but never see, so it is a case of out of sight, out of mind.

Jeff Brooks

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Will La Jolla’s coast just be for pinnipeds soon?

As a La Jolla resident and ocean swimmer, I was dismayed to read of the Coastal Commission’s expanded approval for a six-month annual closure of Point La Jolla and Boomer Beach (“From ‘thrilled’ to ‘disappointed,’ La Jollans react to six-month seasonal closure of Point La Jolla,” April 14, La Jolla Light). The closure period runs from May 1 to Oct. 31 and is to remain in effect for seven years.

It was particularly painful to read that the closure includes access to Boomer Beach, the premier bodysurfing beach in San Diego County. This iconic and historic beach is world-renowned for its large and perfectly formed waves. The watermen who ride these waves peacefully coexist with the sea lions and pose no threat to their well-being. What public good does it serve to block their path to the ocean?

Emotion seems to have won the day with little thought given to compromise or the impact of the decision on current use. Before the vote, many of us were under the impression it was the job of the Coastal Commission to promote access to our public beaches and not to close them. This no longer appears to be the case.

I suppose we should be grateful that the year-round closure requested by the Seal Society was not approved. It seems to be the policy of this group to permanently block access to any area where a seal or sea lion decides to birth a pup. If this is not the case, I would invite the leadership of the Seal Society to publicly declare otherwise.

The local seal and sea lion populations are thriving. Both populations are actively expanding their territories -- the seals to South Casa Beach near the Children’s Pool and the sea lions to nearby La Jolla Cove. These are both popular beaches for swimmers. Those of us who enjoy being in the water would like to continue to use these beaches without threat of further closures.

The La Jolla coast is a unique place with a long history of ocean recreation for the people of San Diego. It’s sad that an outside group with no regard for that tradition is working so hard to destroy it.

My earliest memory of the Children’s Pool is learning to swim there as a child. Now it’s off limits to children five months a year. Boomer Beach is the latest to join the closed list.

Will it be the fate of our local beaches to become one large pinniped reserve? I hope not.

Bill Canning

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Scripps Park has gotten too cluttered

An art installation in a public place is a cool thing. However, the place for the mirror towers above Point La Jolla is a terrible idea (“Scripps Park in La Jolla to host temporary art installation in June,” April 7, La Jolla Light).

This place is already impacted with crowds looking at the sea lions, docents yelling at the people, park rangers trying to keep the peace and those of us who just want to go for a swim trying to access the beach. And now we have another thing to attract a crowd.

And I wonder how light reflecting from it, especially at night, will affect the wildlife.

A rendering depicts "Reflexion," an art installation planned for Scripps Park in June.
(Courtesy of Gordon Hoople / Art Builds)

How about if we declare Scripps Park off limits to all other activity besides being a public place for people to go and enjoy the beautiful views, water and wildlife? We could get rid of vendors entirely, no public art installations (that light up at night especially), no marathons, no car shows, no concerts, no weddings.

Just have the park open to individuals and families to enjoy the natural beauty of the place, which is probably what Ellen Browning Scripps intended.

These other activities prevent those of us who want to come and access the water or just sit on the grass from coming. I understand that the city gets revenue from these other activities, but at what cost?

The natural beauty of the park and beaches is attraction enough. Let’s stop spoiling it.

Angela Shaw

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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. To share your thoughts in this public forum, email them with your first and last names and city or neighborhood of residence to robert.vardon@lajollalight.com. You also can submit a letter online at lajollalight.com/submit-a-letter-to-the-editor. 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. ◆