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La Jolla Shores board asks City to fund park gate checks, more trash pick-up

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During its July 10 meeting, the La Jolla Shores Association board discusses projects and services it would like the City to fund in the coming year. Pictured from left: Joe Dicks, John Shannon, Robin Leary, Janie Emerson, Pam Boynton, Terry Kraszewski and Mary Coakley-Munk
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

La Jolla Shores Association (LJSA) is doubling down on its request that the City of San Diego continue to fund locking the gates at Kellogg Park at night, increasing trash pick-up frequency, and keeping the public restrooms clean.

During its July 10 meeting on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the board debated — and then unanimously approved — a list of eight projects it would like the City to fund in the coming year.

In addition to those projects listed above, others were: repairs to the north comfort station, repairs to the Walter Munk Way (boardwalk) walls, replacement of trees in Kellogg Park, addition of street lights and repairs to the boardwalk surface.

Funding sources include Community Projects, Programs and Services (CPPS) — discretionary money a Council member can allocate to City departments — and money for specific Capital Improvement Projects.

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Although CPPS funds were provided to lock Kellogg Park gates last year, residents report visiting the park after hours and finding the gates wide open. After numerous complaints, the City recently changed the contractor it hired to complete the task — to positive results thus far.

Nevertheless, the board decided to continue to advocate for funding to lock the gates.

But coming to a decision about the list was not without discussion — especially when it came to the trash pick-up.

LJSA chair Janie Emerson explained that last summer, following reports of overflowing trash cans, the City’s Environmental Services Department agreed to add trash cans to Avenida de la Playa and empty them twice a day during spring break and summer months.

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However, the City has not committed to continuing the twice-daily pick-up as needed beyond this summer. The board debated whether to ask the City for funding to continue the program. “Unless we ask for it and the City budgets it, that system won’t remain and there will be trash in the streets,” Emerson said.

However, LJSA trustee and business owner Terry Kraszewski noted: “We have more visitors than most to our streets and parks than most areas of San Diego. Why are we having to make these requests? This is a health issue.”

LJSA trustee Dolores Donovan added: “I don’t think it is advisable to make annual requests for trash pick-up. It is the sign of a failed state when (the City) does less and less and people do more and more. I don’t want us to contribute to that attitude.”

As a safeguard, the board decided to request the funds, and should the Environmental Services Department decide to continue the twice-daily trash pickups without additional funding, the board could rescind its request.

Emerson opined: “I don’t think this is the right way to do this, but that is the game we are playing.”

Also at LJSA

Weeds on La Jolla Parkway: After being told the City was “on notice” for overgrown weeds that block the view for cars coming onto La Jolla Parkway from La Jolla Scenic Drive South, District 1 City Council rep Mauricio Medina explained that he reached out to City staff for a solution. “The Mayor put in $1.3 million for brush removal in the 2020 budget, but Streets Division is working with the Fire Department to prioritize locations for brush removal. Other areas have more brush because of the rainy season.”

Trustee Joe Dicks, who originally raised the concern, said: “I’ve stopped walking down there to take photos so I can file a report on the Get It Done app. It’s too dangerous because the road is narrowed due to overgrown vegetation.”

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Housing bill updates: La Jolla realtor James LaMattery provided the board with updates on controversial housing bills making their way through the California Senate, specifically SB 330, which proposes to suspend “specific local rules and regulations that are recognized as obstacles to housing production” according to its author, State Senator Nancy Skinner (D-East Bay). It was once feared this bill would remove the coastal height limit, but legislators have come forward declaring that is not the case.

Because the language of the bill is constantly changing, LaMattery explained: “The worst part of the bill, which would have removed the electorate’s ability to use a referendum to a ballot initiative on any housing decision, was stricken. That is great news and that had a lot to do with the activism here in La Jolla. This is an old fight between the State trying to take control of local policy decisions, they have been blaming local planning groups for the housing crisis. It’s still a no-good bill if you like local control.”

He advocated for continued letter-writing on an individual level via raisetheballoon.org and contacting local elected officials.

Of this bill, Emerson opined: “This would change our community drastically. The local planning groups have put a lot of restrictions on development to keep the character of our areas … and it put the skids on developers, so it really has nothing to do with affordable housing, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the developers are behind this.”

Fourth of July recap: With the Kellogg Park in La Jolla Shores “at capacity, as always” (according to lifeguards at around 45,500 people), the board reviewed the level of law enforcement presence leading up to the Fourth of July to deter illegal camping and excessive crowds.

“I walked down there and there were two San Diego Police Department enforcement officers standing around eating Pringles potato chips,” Emerson said. “At the same time, on the other end of the parking lot, people were driving the wrong way into the lot. I told the officers they needed to send someone and they just stood there. This was at 2:30 p.m. It was ludicrous, they didn’t do anything. It was very frustrating.”

Kraszewski added there were thousands of tents and no police presence after 7 p.m.

There was no rep from the San Diego Police Department at the meeting to address stated concerns.

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UCSD projects: Following a presentation from UC San Diego reps in June, the board discussed whether to oppose one project that is coming down the pike. It includes the construction of a new College on the south end of campus that would be located near the Theater District, which houses the La Jolla Playhouse. However, UCSD director of campus planning Robert Clossin said this plan is “very conceptual at this time.”

Nevertheless, members stated their opposition. “These are world-renowned theaters” Emerson explained. “As an older woman, I am not going to park in one of the garages and wander around campus to go to the theater. I don’t object to the project, I object to the location. Now is the perfect time to let them know our thoughts on this.”

The board will continue to follow the issue and draft its opposition in the coming months.

— La Jolla Shores Association next meets 6:30 p.m. (a reception precedes the meetings at 6 p.m.) Wednesday, July 14 at Martin John House on the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 8840 Biological Grade. lajollashoresassociation.org


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