Our Readers Write: Coast Walk, La Jolla cityhood, squirrels, sea lions

email letter

Letters to the editor


No need to widen Coast Walk

I am writing as a follow-up to last week’s article by Elisabeth Frausto covering Melinda Merryweather’s request for yet another study of Coast Walk, this time to seek widening the road to address safety (“Debate over Coast Walk width is renewed by call for traffic study,” March 30, La Jolla Light).

Ms. Merryweather has a history of issues with Coast Walk residents for 40 years. Over the many decades, she has made multiple assertions regarding the legal status of the Coast Walk property line and the public right of way.

The latest effort by Ms. Merryweather is to widen a single-lane road in the name of safety by suggesting a study be done at a cost to taxpayers on a quiet street with 10 homes. The March 21 Traffic & Transportation Board meeting yielded several comments by land-use professional Mike Pallamary that are “not just opinion but are a matter of law”:

  • The boundary line of the property owners on and along Coast Walk extends to the “mean high tide line” or the “line of mean high water” of the Pacific Ocean. The boundary line is at the base, or “toe,” of the bluff.
  • The adjacent property owners own the “fee title” in and beneath the entirety of the traveled road known as Coast Walk.
  • The city of San Diego does not own any of the land along and adjacent to Coast Walk. The only interest the city has is in the form of an easement.
  • Coast Walk was never offered for dedication, and because there was no acceptance of a dedication, the limits of the public easement are defined by the extent of the asphalt paving.

As Brian Earley, chairman of T&T, stated, “If the city of San Diego has had trouble with access to Coast Walk for emergency or trash services, something would have happened already.”
We have many road repair and infrastructure issues facing our community. Spending money on a study for a road less traveled in an effort to “pave paradise and put up a parking lot” is removed from the realities of La Jolla’s community needs.

Brenda Fake

— — —

La Jolla should challenge San Diego-wide voting requirement for cityhood

Efforts to achieve La Jolla cityhood have had many iterations, all of them unsuccessful for a variety of reasons (“Push for a city of La Jolla is reborn with new analysis and fundraising,” March 16, La Jolla Light).

For openers, fundraising efforts in amounts even to get the project off the ground have largely failed. None of the attempts has gotten even to the stage of a vote among La Jollans (or the rest of the city) to satisfy the statutorily required voter approval of secession.

Fundraising and other needed components of the effort have gone begging for one principal reason: No one really believes that the rest of the San Diego citizenry would vote to let La Jolla go its own way.

When San Fernando Valley wanted separation from Los Angeles, there was a “Katie bar the door” campaign by politicians at every level to stop it. And stop it they did.

In fact, since the statutory mechanism for secession went into effect in 1963, not a single entity has ever successfully separated from its parent city. The procedure is there but no one can use it!

That is one of the principal reasons for the rationale I would propose to achieve La Jolla cityhood: Mount a constitutional challenge to the validity of the statute requiring citywide approval of La Jolla’s separation.

If no one has ever successfully employed the statutory prescription specifically designed to permit separation, the statute simply doesn’t work. A statute that doesn’t work is a constitutional self-contradiction. No rational court would allow a law to persist whose purpose is incapable of being fulfilled and whose procedure cannot be satisfied. It is a mirage.

There is an abundance of other reasons the statute is flawed. Imagine someone proposing that England could nullify the American Revolution by a vote of its people against it.

The principle of self-governance finds expression in the right of freedom of association. It is as inherent as any other constitutionally protected right.

And what of equal protection of the law? A citizen in a city is hampered by the right of his fellow city dwellers to negate his choice of governance. His neighbor across the street that by happenstance is part of the county and not the city has no such impediment: Citizens of a county have no power to deny cityhood to a part of the county that votes to adopt it.

La Jolla or any other separating entity will unfortunately never achieve secession if the law remains on the books barring their efforts by the veto power of its parent city. Like any parent, San Diego will not want to let its offspring go. La Jolla can and must legally challenge this parental say-so over its future.

Paul Kennerson

— — —

Squirrels are part of La Jolla’s nature

As I was reading the “Squirrel away” article, I was horrified and saddened that this inhumane idea was even considered of putting out poisonous bait boxes (“San Diego lays bait stations to help control squirrels at La Jolla Cove, prompting concern,” March 23, La Jolla Light).

Squirrels, birds and lizards are all part of our La Jolla animal life, just like our precious seabirds and seals. And our predatory natural birds will die from this, for they thrive on squirrels and mice.

I agree with Bryan Resheske that this is cruel and unacceptable. What next, use Roundup on every weed and natural living thing?

Sharon McGoldrick

— — —

Why would we want to cause pain and suffering?

After I cared for my brother, who experienced a painful illness and death, I committed to never causing pain to another life.

This includes the poisoning of rodents, which causes a great deal of pain and suffering. It’s cruel. Why do we want to do something that will cause agony and be slow?

It is certainly not taking the high road in finding other ways to limit the number of squirrels, chipmunks and any other animal that may be able to find the poison.

Pamela Whitfield

— — —

Sea lions are a joy to behold

I read the opinion piece “Four strikes, but the pinnipeds still aren’t out” (Our Readers Write, March 30, La Jolla Light) and then went for an early-morning walk along The Cove.

The splashing around of sea lions caught my attention, so I took a seat. This form of entertainment, I’ve found, is one of the most grounding — a way to observe wild and whimsical creatures up close.

As they leapt out of the frothing white wash in their miniature acrobatics and even demonstrated their surfing skills, it was apparent that these animals were giving me a master class in joy.

A special treat to witness was when a wave picked up and the sun shone through to illuminate a turquoise stage where a sleek and graceful dance was performed. Elegant and free, the sea lions dove down, streaking along the length of the wave on their natural roller coaster, and I was allowed a brief window into their beautiful, playful world.

I understand and respect the concerns of my neighbors about the loss of swimming areas and other risks these creatures may pose to humans. I am also grateful for the opportunity to coexist with nature.

I think the sea lions offer us a lesson to let go and choose to live with joy. And maybe give us some pointers on surfing as well!

Anika Berger

— — —

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 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. See the full policy at ◆