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La Jolla Shores board ticked that park gates not closed at night

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The gates at Kellogg Park in La Jolla Shores are supposed to be closed to the public daily at 10 p.m. for security reasons. However, Shores Association trustees report the gates remain open, despite City funds for the program.
(Light File)

For the last few months, members of the La Jolla Shores Association (LJSA) have taken it upon themselves to monitor whether the gates to the Kellogg Park parking lot are locked at 10 p.m. Funds to assure the safety practice came through City Council member Barbara Bry’s office in 2018.

The gates were supposed to be locked nightly as of Jan. 1, via metal arms across the lot entrance, which have signs on both sides indicating it would be closed at night.

But at the Jan. 9 LJSA meeting, trustee John Sheridan reported he had walked past the gates after hours and found them “wide open.” (Bry’s field rep Mauricio Medina said at the time the gates being open may have been attributed to “human error” and that the staff tasked with locking the gates might not have been properly supervised.)

In the months that followed, trustees and volunteers continued to check the gates, and created a log recording the time they visited the parking lot and whether the gates were locked or open. LJSA chair Janie Emerson said in the last few weeks, the gates were only on locked by 10 p.m. March 26 and April 8. (There are two nights on the log when no one checked.)

“I went one time at 2:14 a.m. (and they were not locked),” Emerson said at the April 10 meeting on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography campus. “I almost went again last night when I went up to go to the bathroom and thought, ‘no, I’m not going to do that. I can’t do this anymore.’ ”

Fellow trustee Joe Dicks commended her, “bless your heart for doing that at all!”

Emerson continued, “We fought long and hard to get the gates locked at night. If you have been down there, you see the parking lot is supposed to be locked from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. Council District 1 was kind enough to allot money to hire someone to do this. The funds were passed to the Department of Park & Rec, who has told us they have hired someone to do it.”

She said on one of the nights that she went to check the gates, she observed 68 cars in the parking lot, five bonfires, and a family seemingly living in a van.

With summer approaching, she added, “we are at the beginning of something that could mushroom really fast. My feeling is that these people need to be fired and should return the money for all the nights they didn’t do their job.”

When asked about what the board can reasonably expect going forward, Medina explained, “You can expect the gates to be locked. Park & Rec has told us they have other gates to lock, and they try to get there before 11 p.m.”

Amidst all the questions, it became clear that the board did not have the actual contract in which the City engaged that outlines the terms that must be met (for example, the gates shall be locked by 10 p.m. or simply that the gates will be locked without specifying a time). The board then asked for a copy of the contract to see what the terms are, and whether they are being met.

A motion to have Dicks request the contract from the City, review the terms, see if there are enforceable provisions in it; and a second motion that, if there are enforceable terms, email the board and contact the City, both passed.

In other LJSA news

Board takes up Senate Bills: Real estate broker James LaMattery, who has been making the rounds at local community planning groups, spoke at length about SB 330, a proposed senate bill that he said could remove the coastal height limits for new development. However, the overall purpose of his presentation was to encourage attendance at a meeting 5:30 p.m. Thursday April 18 at REBA La Jolla, 908 Kline St. (coverage of which will be in a future La Jolla Light issue).

James LaMattery shows the La Jolla Shores Association a map of areas that would be impacted by Senate Bills currently making the legislative rounds. Ashley Mackin-Solomon

Additional meetings will be held in the coming weeks and months to discuss the bills more and to get La Jollans involved.

SB 330 is dubbed the “Housing Crisis Act of 2019” and was introduced in February. If passed, it could work in concert with another housing related senate bill, SB 50, which could remove height limit and parking requirements in select areas east of I-5.

“SB 50 removes height restrictions east of I-5 and minimal parking requirement in Transit Priority Areas (TPA) on either side of the 5 freeway” LaMattery said. “SB 330 gets rid of (height restrictions in) the rest of the State.” He claimed “any area in The Shores that is designated as a TPA on SANDAG’s map, would be affected immediately if SB 50 was enacted.”

In addition to the TPAs (those within half a mile of a major transit hub or within a quarter mile of a bus line), he said SB 50 proposes increasing development in “job rich areas,” which according to a map he produced, includes all of La Jolla.

No action was taken at the April meeting, to allow the board to review the bill and attend the April 18 meeting. Emerson advocated for continued attention to this, and opined, “This is not something that is going away any time soon and is certainly will change our lives dramatically in The Shores.”

Those wishing to track the status of these bills can visit leginfo.legislature.ca.gov and search for SB 330 and/or SB 50 to receive updates as they are heard and amended. Learn more about future meetings at raisetheballoon.org

The board also discussed SB 946, called the “Safe Sidewalk Vending Act,” which went into effect Jan. 1 and decriminalizes sidewalk vending and selling merchandise in public parks and beaches. The La Jolla Parks & Beaches advisory group had already formed a sub-committee to address this, and LJSA voted to join in their efforts to “come up with a strategy for dealing with SB 946.”

LJSA trustee Dede Donovan noted, “One possibility would be to request the adoption of new regulations … another option is to modify the (applicable) sections. We can try to get it amended at the state level, or we can get our City Council to come up with local regulations that conform with SB 946 but regulate selling in public parks.”

She said the latter of which was more likely, given the number of loopholes in the law. LJSA would continue to report on this issue as updates become available.

Election update: Following the most recent election — which left the board with 13 of 16 seats filled — Robyn Leary agreed to become a member, and current trustees are seeking additional members to complete the board. A slate of officers was elected: Emerson continues as chair, Mary Coakley-Munk was appointed vice-chair, Pam Boynton agreed to continue as chair, and Charlie Brown stepped in as a temporary secretary.

City ‘on notice’ for Via Capri: Trustee Dicks reported the entrance from Via Capri onto La Jolla Scenic South to get to Torrey Pines Road is “falling apart” and a solution is beyond the reach of the City’s Get It Done App.

“The edges are falling apart, so this is not just a pothole anymore. The edges are eroding, so if you are not careful and your car is on the edge, your car will leave the roadway. The City is on notice, because someone is going to get hurt.”

Pam Boynton added the condition was “just atrocious.”

Medina said he would meet with City staff on the issue and report back.

La Jolla Shores Association next meets 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 8 at Martin Johnson House, 8840 Biological Grade, SIO. lajollashoresassocation.org


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