La Jolla News Nuggets: Wall Street signs mysteriously tagged; Merchants Association president resigns; and other newsworthy items

Who is responsible for altering all three Wall Street street signs in La Jolla?

Wall Street signs mysteriously tagged

Sometime between Monday and Tuesday, April 2-3, all three Wall Street street signs from Girard to Ivanhoe avenues were apparently tagged.

City spokesperson Anthony Santacroce told La Jolla Light: “There is no earthly reason this is an official, legitimate action. If the City were to repaint a street sign, we would just replace the sign. If the street was going to be renamed, Council District 1 would need to initiate that process, which it hasn’t.”

That begs the question of then what happened? Santacroce said he and his colleagues have a guess, since the graffiti is so unusual. Instead of adding words or names, grey paint was used to cover the name “Wall,” with great precision, on both sides of each sign. Santacroce suspects a protest against President Donald Trump’s U.S./Mexico border wall — “as in no wall.”

Santacroce said the City’s graffiti-abatement team has been alerted.

James Niebling
James Niebling LIGHT FILE

Merchants Association president resignsThe La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) is losing its president. James Niebling, who assumed the role 18 months ago, has announced that he will leave the board after its 3 p.m. Wednesday, April 11 meeting at the La Jolla Library.

Niebling’s design firm, Esteban Interiors, appears to be relocating within San Diego once its lease at 7605 Girard Ave. is up this summer.

“We are excited about the opportunity to become an even more dynamic brand in the San Diego area,” Niebling wrote in his resignation letter to the LJVMA board. “This was a very difficult decision to come by as I have nothing but great passion and respect for the La Jolla community.”

MAD retrial set

A retrial to vacate a ruling that deemed the La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) unconstitutional has been set for June 8, the City Attorney’s office confirmed. At the retrial, the City will argue for the MAD in San Diego Superior Court. It was originally scheduled for March 29.

Judge Randa Trapp — the same judge who ruled in November 2017 that the La Jolla MAD was unconstitutional — will preside. Deputy City Attorney Carmen Brock will represent the City.

As previously reported in the Light, the MAD would provide enhanced services in The Village, including landscape maintenance, street and sidewalk cleaning, litter and graffiti abatement, and additional trash collection. It would be managed by the non-profit community board Enhance La Jolla, which could accept donations for capital improvement projects.

Soon after the MAD was established, a group of La Jolla property owners filed a lawsuit challenging the MAD because the services to be provided were services, they argued, the City should be carrying out.

In January, the City filed its request for a new trial.

Is Shores construction delaying mail delivery?

A La Jolla Shores construction project could be keeping some residents from getting their mail. La Jolla Light reader and Shores resident Lynn Schenk called to report a project had begun on Vallecitos, Paseo Dorado and other surrounding streets, and her related experience suggests all her mail is not being delivered.

Schenk said signs were posted indicating the street was closed to through traffic, which may have deterred mail trucks from getting through. “There has to be better coordination between the City and US Postal Service as La Jolla streets are torn up,” she said. “We have to get the mail.”

Schenk said she was expecting a certain amount of mail last week and only received mail Friday, March 29, when construction crews were not present due to the Cesar Chavez holiday (which is not a Postal Service holiday). “I’ve never gotten so few pieces of mail, and the mail that I got was mostly dated for Thursday, nothing for Tuesday or Wednesday. When I called the Postmaster, she said I couldn’t be sure I didn’t get everything — but I didn’t get my La Jolla Light, so I knew some was missing.”

Schenk said the mail carrier advised that if she suspects mail has not been delivered, she should visit the La Jolla Post Office at 1140 Wall St. and check. Representatives from the US Postal Service did not respond to a request for comment on these issues by press deadline, so any additional details will be reported in next week’s Light.

Deadly flu season not over yet

Flu activity in San Diego is still elevated, according to the County Health and Human Services Agency, and people without vaccinations should still remedy that problem immediately.

“We can’t stress how important it is,” says County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten, “particularly if you’re going to be around children or just for your own protection — particularly for people with diabetes, heart disease, lung diseases or any condition that affects the immune system.”

As of March 24, the flu has killed 319 people in San Diego County and, although reported cases are decreasing, they’re still sky high — three times what they were for the same week in 2017. “It’s just a severe flu season,” Wooten told the Light. “We’ve had moderately severe seasons before, and two years ago, things did last until April, but the number of cases reported has not been as high.”

Wooten said this year’s vaccine is around 25 percent effective against the deadly H3 N2 strain — not only 10 percent effective, as was widely reported in February.

Barbara Boxer leads Jewish book fair

The 23rd annual San Diego Jewish Book Fair, to be presented April 12-22 by the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture with most events at the Garfield Theater, 4126 Executive Drive in La Jolla, sports a lineup including Sen. Barbara Boxer, chef Joan Nathan and podcaster Davy Rothbart.

“Some of these are people who are authors and writers have worked in multiple modalities — podcasts, TV shows, politics,” said festival director Brian Garrick. “I think audiences crave people who aren’t strictly writers but are also great presenters.”

For more information, visit or call (858) 362-1348.