La Jolla Town Council passes the ball to City to help save bees

The UC San Diego student-run organization CALPIRG made a presentation June 8 during the La Jolla Town Council (LJTC) meeting at the Rec Center to convince trustees to join its fight to save bees and declare La Jolla a “Bee City USA.” However, citing concerns about their authority to self-proclaim as a bee-friendly city, trustees approved a motion to recommend the City of San Diego become one.

“Some people view bees as a simple summer annoyance, but they help pollinate 90 percent of our native crops,” said CALPIRG volunteer Ron Pacheco.

La Jollan Diane Bush, who is a member of the San Diego Beekeeping Society, said she’s been a beekeeper for 20 years. “I inherited my dad’s two hives,” she said. “I’ve been talking about this (issue) since 2002 when I noticed my hives go from day to night.” Bush described how, in her experience, pesticides and GMO (genetically modified organism) crops can be detrimental to bees. “They eat the (contaminated) pollen, they feed their babies, they go out, they forget how to get back, and that’s how they die.”

Pacheco confirmed that yes, “there have been mysterious disappearances of bees since 2006.”

There are 47 cities listed on the Bee City USA register, from States such as North Carolina, Wisconsin and California. To become one, a City must: 1)help raise awareness, 2) enhance habitats for bees and 3) celebrate achievements as a bee-friendly area.

UCSD chemistry student and CALPIRG volunteer Steven Russum said one of the biggest factors decimating the bee population is the fragmentation of their habitat, “which is something you can help with.” He told trustees that, for La Jolla to become a Bee City USA, all that was needed was control over the landscaping.

“I’d like to support your efforts, but whether we can certify if we control landscape in La Jolla, is an open question,” said LJTC president Ann Kerr Bache. Trustees agreed that landscaping requirements are divided among the City of San Diego Urban Forestry Division and the La Jolla Community Plan.

Trustee Gail Forbes offered, “the Community Plan requires certain kinds of landscapes and trees on certain streets, so that might be another place where if you do have a list of plants that are bee-friendly, might be added in (but it’s) a long, slow process.”

A motion to encourage the City of San Diego to enter the Bee City USA register was approved unanimously. A second motion to contribute to raise awareness about bee conservancy in La Jolla was also approved.

In other LJTC news:

Organizations Forum: There are 13 boards that guide community life within La Jolla. According the Kerr Bache, “Sometimes it’s difficult for the public to know what functions they provide and which one to turn to with a problem, or how to get involved.” To help, the Town Council hosted a forum where the leaders of the key community boards summarized their responsibilities.

La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA). Member Patrick Ahern represented the association saying, “It’s a very juicy powerful group, and we like juicy.” LJCPA meets 6 p.m. first Thursdays at the Rec Center and overlooks land-use issues. “We do about 90 projects a year. Eighty-one percent get approved (by the City), so I guess they listen to us,” Ahern said. Contact: or

La Jolla Traffic & Transportation (T&T). Chair Dave Abrams stated its focus as “providing a local point for community input on traffic and transportation matters.” The topics dealt with range from special events to traffic circles. T&T meets 4 p.m. third Wednesdays at the Rec Center. Contact:

La Jolla Parks & Beaches (LJP&B). President Ann Dynes introduced the group and delegated member Patrick Ahern to present its features. “Our focus is the parks and the beaches of La Jolla,” he related. “What we do is, if there’s a great plan, we get it funded, either publicly or privately.” LJP&B meets 4:30 p.m. fourth Mondays at the Rec Center. Contact: or

La Jolla Parks & Recreation, Inc. (LJPRI). Trustee Bill Robins informed, “We are La Jolla’s back yard,” he said. The board is working on a plan to renovate the playground at the facility. LJPRI meets 5 p.m. fourth Wednesdays at the Rec Center. Contact:

Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC). Vice-president John Newsam said BRCC’s chief function is to handle the funds of the Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) established in 2000. “We also run the Bird Rock Neighborhood Watch that’s been in place for many years now,” he added. BRCC meets 6 p.m. first Tuesdays at local venues. Contact: or

La Jolla Shores Association (LJSA). Chair Nick LeBeouf said the Association is a forum for matters affecting The Shores’ community and reporting them to the City. “We also give recommendations about the City parks within our boundaries,” he said. LJSA meets 6:30 p.m. second Wednesdays at 8840 Biological Grade. Contact:

La Jolla Shores Business Association (LJSBA). President Angie Preisendorfer said the group banded together three years ago as a response to the City construction projects that took over The Shores (Sewer & Water Group 809). “We’re working to get over 3 million visitors to come to Avenida de la Playa, the only business district in The Shores,” she said. LJSBA meets 9 a.m. third Thursdays at local businesses.

Community groups not present at the forum included La Jolla Village Merchants Association, Development Permit Review Committee, La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee, La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee and La Jolla Shores Planned District Advisory Board.

La Jolla Town Council meets 5:30 p.m. second Thursdays at La Jolla Recreation Center, 615 Prospect St.