La Jolla News Nuggets


Barbara don’t surf

At Kellogg Park on Sept. 20, District 1 City Council member Barbara Bry presented a proclamation to Surf Diva Surf School co-owners (and twins) Izzy and Coco Tihanyi.

It was California Surfing Day, which Senate Concurrent Resolution 122 declared after surfing was declared the official state sport last month. Bry’s proclamation called surfing “of significant importance to San Diego’s identity and way of life.”

“It is wonderful that surfing has become the official state sport of California, because it is a very accessible sport,” Bry said. “After all, the ocean is free, so anyone can participate.”

Speaking more candidly, Bry commented: “I’m one of the few members of my family who doesn’t surf. Izzy and Coco have offered to teach me to surf. If they can teach me to surf, they are geniuses.”

Despite strenuous provocations to start the lessons then and there, Bry demurred.

Public to decide on vacation rentals, not City Council

Enough valid signatures have been gathered to qualify a ballot referendum repealing the restrictions on short-term rentals voted in 6-3 by the San Diego City Council on July 16. Nearly 36,000 signatures of registered voters were needed to allow a public vote on the regulations, which outlaw vacation rentals in secondary homes and limit short-term stays to one’s primary residence only.

The City Council now has the option of either placing the measure on a future ballot — either in 2020 or possibly earlier if a special election were authorized — or withdrawing its action. The regulations will be placed on hold until the issue is decided.

Utility bill reduction set

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) promises that customers will receive a reduction in their bills in October, as the settlement agreement for the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) takes effect following approval by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).

Originally set to begin in November, SDG&E has accelerated the reductions to provide relief for customers blindsided by exorbidant energy bills this summer. “We’re happy to reach the final chapter in the SONGS settlement and provide these savings for our customers,” said Dan Skopec, SDG&E’s vice president of regulatory affairs.

The bill reductions will include a one-month refund of approximately $13.80 per typical residential customer beginning Oct. 1, and an ongoing average bill reduction of about $1.32 per month per typical residential customer.

The settlement agreement and resulting bill reductions come after a multi-year investigation by the CPUC into the closure of SONGS and related costs. In 2014, the parties reached a settlement regarding the allocation of costs between the utilities and their customers, which was approved by the CPUC. After allegations of improper communications between SCE and the CPUC surfaced, however, the CPUC reopened the proceeding to investigate the claims and determine if the alleged communications impacted the previous settlement.

Bishop’s makes Merit Scholarship semifinals

Twelve Bishop’s School seniors have been named semifinalists in the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Competition — nearly 1 percent of the class. They are Maxwell Brown, Graham Cartwright, Bryce Devoe, Isabelle Kenagy, Sarah Mischel, Kai Murray, Jerry Qu, Rohit Raguram, Ivan Savchuk, Elizabeth Szymanski, Athena Tsu and Crystal Wang.

The program recognizes 16,000 semifinalists throughout the U.S for their exceptional academic promise. These students have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships — worth about $32 million — that will be offered next spring.

More than 1.6 million juniors in over 22,000 high schools entered the 2019 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2017 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).

Architect Robert Venturi dies at age 93

Architect Robert Venturi, often referred to as the father of postmodernism, died last week at home in Philadelphia after a brief illness. He was 93.

His death comes on the heels of a controversy over changes being made during the expansion of the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla that will remove some of Venturi and his wife’s — architect Denise Scott Brown — additions to the museum during its last expansion in 1996. That expansion was the only Venturi Scott Brown project ever commissioned in San Diego.

Jewish Film Festival’s shorts get bigger

La Jolla will host the first known Jewish short film festival on Oct. 6-7 in the Garfield Theatre at the Jewish Community Center, 4126 Executive Drive. A spinoff of the San Diego Jewish Film Festival, the Joyce Forum Short Film Festival will be the first stand-alone short film festival dedicated specifically to Jewish filmmakers.

“With over 130 submissions from 17 countries worldwide, the expansion of the Joyce Forum was a natural evolution,” said Joyce Axelrod, founder of the San Diego Jewish Film Festival and namesake of its short sibling. Tickets are $15.25. (858) 362-1157,

Come on and take a free ride!

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and North County Transit District (NCTD) announced a “Free Ride Day” on Tuesday, Oct. 2. Fixed-route bus and rail services will be free for everyone to use.

MTS CEO Paul Jablonski said the day’s purpose was “to encourage San Diego residents to shake up their routine and ... provide everyone an easy way to leave their cars at home and discover the advantages of taking transit.”

Free Ride Day will be valid on all MTS and NCTD fixed-routes services including buses, the Trolley, Sprinter and Coaster. All services will operate on a normal weekday schedule. (NCTD LIFT and Amtrak R2R trains are not part of this promotion.)