Advertisement
Share

2020 Year in Review: Top news stories in La Jolla

2020 review
(stock.adobe.com)

If 2020 has proved anything, it’s that La Jollans don’t lose their fighting spirit.

As the world battled the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, locals hopped online or otherwise did what they could for various causes — whether it be neighborhood character, racial justice or adapting to ever-changing public health restrictions to keep their businesses open. All of this without in-person entertainment, meetings and events and while staying masked and socially distanced.

Through Dec. 26, residents of La Jolla’s 92037 ZIP code had registered 833 cases of the virus. San Diego County’s cumulative cases stood at 145,779 as of Dec. 27, with more than 1,400 related deaths.

Here’s a look at La Jolla in a year like no other.

January


Shores group opposes parkway overpass: The La Jolla Shores Association votes to oppose a bridge over La Jolla Parkway connecting La Jolla Scenic Drive North and La Jolla Scenic Drive South. The overpass appeared in the 1972 La Jolla Community Plan but was removed.

A rendering of the Prospect Street Plaza proposed as part of the Village Streetscape Plan.
(Courtesy)

La Jolla Community Foundation unveils Village Streetscape Plan: The La Jolla Community Foundation presents its Village Streetscape Plan to the boards of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association, La Jolla Town Council, La Jolla Community Planning Association and La Jolla Historical Society. The proposal calls for a new public plaza at “The Dip,” the north end of Girard Avenue at Prospect Street, prioritizing community gathering spaces, improving crosswalks and increasing shade areas. The plan’s cost is estimated at $50 million, with Phase 1 costing $10 million. Fundraising efforts are underway.

Farewell State of the District speech: In her final State of the District speech, San Diego City Councilwoman Barbara Bry of La Jolla — who decided to run for mayor instead of a second council term — lists publicly opposing “the Soccer City land grab” of the former SDCCU Stadium site among her top accomplishments, along with spearheading a citywide boardwalk ban on motorized vehicles. The District 1 representative says her key budget priorities for the rest of 2020 include critical resources for lifeguards, a five-year financial plan for the Climate Action Plan, no library service reductions, repairing the Coast Walk Trail, a small increase to arts and culture and fully staffing code enforcement.

February

A rendering depicts UC San Diego's planned Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood.
A rendering depicts UC San Diego’s planned Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood (formerly the Future College Living and Learning Neighborhood).
(Courtesy)

Planning group hears about new UCSD project: UC San Diego assistant director of community planning Anu Delouri reports at a La Jolla Community Planning Association meeting that the university held an open house to present its Future College Living and Learning Neighborhood (later renamed the Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood). The five-building, 10.9-acre project, planned near the intersection of Torrey Pines Road and La Jolla Village Drive, would provide housing for 2,000 UCSD students and include retail and restaurant space, a conference center and a 1,200-space parking garage underneath.

Shores group objects to UCSD expansion: The La Jolla Shores Association votes to authorize its executive board “all means necessary to take appropriate measures to deal with the expansion at UCSD called Future College Living and Learning Neighborhood.”

“The Map” breaks ground: Construction begins in Kellogg Park on The Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla Educational Plaza, funded by the Walter Munk Foundation for the Oceans. “The Map,” in development since 2013 as a replacement for the 2008 original, was scheduled for installation in March 2019 but was delayed following the death of longtime Scripps oceanographer Walter Munk in February 2019.

Traffic board recommends “Throat” study: The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board votes to request that the city do a comprehensive study of traffic at “The Throat,” the intersection of La Jolla Parkway, Hidden Valley Road and Torrey Pines Road, after the defeat of a resident’s third attempt to push through a bridge connecting La Jolla Science Drive North and La Jolla Scenic Drive South.

Cluster discusses short-term rentals’ effect on school enrollment: The La Jolla Cluster Association, which represents all five La Jolla public schools in the San Diego Unified School District, discusses the effect of the growing number of short-term vacation rentals on school enrollment. Public school funding is related to enrollment, and cluster member Christy Littlemore says families are having a hard time finding housing in La Jolla. Cluster President Neha Bahadur says limiting STVRs would allow more families to move into the area.

The preliminary proposed site plan for the La Jolla Recreation Center, as announced in February.
The preliminary proposed site plan for the La Jolla Recreation Center, as announced in February: A) two new bocce courts along Prospect Street; B) Cuvier Street will be vacated to create more park space; C) better shade throughout; D) a new unified playground space; E) new basketball courts.
(Courtesy)

Rec Center revamp: Members of the La Jolla Recreation Advisory Group Visioning Committee unveil plans for $6 million in improvements to the Recreation Center. The proposal would move the two playgrounds closer together, install new playground equipment and upgrade facilities inside the historic building. The plans also call for the vacation of Cuvier Street for extra space and changing parking spaces on Prospect Street from parallel to angled.

March


UCSD agrees to forum on Future College: At the behest of La Jolla community group leaders, UC San Diego agrees to hold a public forum in coming months to present the plans for the Future College Living and Learning Neighborhood. A few days later, the La Jolla Shores Association votes to seek legal counsel in its opposition to the project, aiming to reduce, delay or halt its construction.

Landscape architect Jennifer Phelps explains the tree choices for La Jolla's Village Streetscape Plan.
(File)

Village Streetscape Plan on view: The La Jolla Community Foundation and Enhance La Jolla hold a public forum on the La Jolla Village Streetscape Plan, a revamping of “The Dip” — the portion of Prospect Street between Girard and Herschel avenues — into a pedestrian plaza featuring new trees, lighting, benches and crosswalks. The unveiling of the plan is attended by 40 people who offer feedback to the project’s architects. The project then moves into the fundraising phase.

Bird Rock vandalism: Roundabouts and medians are vandalized in Bird Rock, with boulders and river rocks thrown onto or moved up and down La Jolla Boulevard.

Para surfing competition: The World Para Surfing Championships are held over four days at La Jolla Shores with 131 athletes representing 22 countries. The competition is presented by the International Surfing Association, which is based in La Jolla and was founded in 2015 to enable physically challenged surfers to compete Paralympic-style.

More friends sought for Coast Walk Trail: Friends of Coast Walk Trail seeks to raise funds to repair major erosion and resurface the trail, level the walking path and remove invasive vegetation along the path, which runs west of Torrey Pines Road between Coast Walk and Cave Street.

A rendering shows the position of 30 planned solar panels for La Jolla Community Center’s new roof.
A rendering shows the position of 30 planned solar panels for La Jolla Community Center’s new roof. The roof will be slate gray, not the brown tone pictured.
(Courtesy)

Community Center going solar: The La Jolla Community Center raises $150,000 for a new roof and solar panels to be installed in 2021, replacing the nearly 20-year-old roof and adding solar panels to reduce the center’s monthly utility bills. The roof and panels will be funded by a combination of grants and donations from local philanthropy groups and private donors.

Farmers market reopens: The La Jolla Open Aire Market reopens after concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic closed it for two weeks for the first time in its 22-year history. Upon its reopening, the market — deemed an essential business — hosts 35 of its usual 150 vendors in a socially distanced smaller lot, without prepared meals or seating areas and encouraging touchless payments.

La Jollan donates 10,000 masks: La Jolla resident Scott Flavell redirects his manufacturing business to make and donate face masks as protection against the coronavirus. He donates 10,000 masks to local grocery employees.

April


Shores retains legal counsel: The La Jolla Shores Association retains law firm Chatten-Brown, Carsten and Minteer after repeated requests from LJSA to UC San Diego for information about its planned Future College Living and Learning Neighborhood went unanswered. The group also has started a petition to garner support from the community. The homeowners association of the nearby Blackhorse Farms community has retained counsel from law firm DeLano & DeLano.

Vandalism on Coast Boulevard: Several buildings and cars are tagged by graffiti vandals along Coast Boulevard and Coast Boulevard South.

“Tiny house” law moves ahead: A San Diego municipal code amendment that would allow “movable tiny houses” under the state definition of an accessory dwelling unit concerns some local residents. La Jolla architect Phil Merten is concerned the movable houses would impact community character and pose safety hazards due to the need for propane tanks. The San Diego Planning Commission approves the proposed amendment April 16, forwarding it to the City Council.

May


Getting back to business: After Gov. Gavin Newsom relaxes some parts of his stay-at-home order prompted by the coronavirus, some local retail businesses set up shop curbside to sell their wares, including Warwick’s bookstore, Geppetto’s toy store and Bloomers flower shop in The Village.

“Slow streets”: Local groups across La Jolla weigh in on San Diego’s “slow streets” initiative, which would close some streets to through traffic to make more room for pedestrians and allow social distancing among them. The Bird Rock Community Council registers no interest in having a slow street there, while the La Jolla Village Merchants Association plans to recommend Wall Street and Girard Avenue in The Village.

Shores outdoor dining: The La Jolla Shores Association votes to pursue closing a restaurant-heavy portion of Avenida de la Playa at night to allow for outdoor dining.

Directional signs: The La Jolla Village Merchants Association revisits the idea of directional signs. Phase 1 would include signs to landmarks, attractions and parking. Phase 2 would incorporate digital signage to indicate how many spaces are open in each pay parking lot.

La Jolla Lutheran Church on La Jolla Boulevard celebrated its 75th anniversary.
(Courtesy)

La Jolla Lutheran’s 75th: La Jolla Lutheran Church celebrates 75 years with a special online service. The church began May 20, 1945, with services originally held in a mortuary before breaking ground on the current La Jolla Boulevard location in 1947. A plaque inside the sanctuary declares La Jolla Lutheran “the church that bees built” after a large donation came from beekeepers and honey traders.

Dog waste stations: The Village gets six dog waste stations installed for public use using donations from La Jolla Veterinary Hospital. The stations, which contain dog waste bags and a compartment for disposal, will be maintained by Enhance La Jolla, administrator of the La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District.

Village benches to be refurbished: A plan is announced to refurbish about 30 worn benches along the main streets of The Village in an undertaking by Enhance La Jolla. The benches will be sanded and given an oil-based treatment.

Jack Barone (left) and Neil Garrett worked together to rescue a 10-year-old girl from the surf at La Jolla Shores.
Jack Barone (left) and Neil Garrett worked together to rescue a 10-year-old girl from the surf at La Jolla Shores.
(Courtesy)

La Jolla Shores rescue: Two beach-goers at La Jolla Shores rescue a 10-year-old girl from harsh ocean waves. Neil Garrett of Santee saw the girl and swam out to her while her father went for lifeguards. Bird Rock resident Jack Barone, passing by on his surfboard, put the girl on the board to get her to shore. Lifeguards and paramedics arrived to take the girl to a hospital.

June


Paddle-outs for Black Lives Matter: Surfers, kayakers, paddleboarders and others gather in peaceful protest at La Jolla Shores on June 5 in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which gained momentum after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25.

Demonstrators supporting the Black Lives Matter movement watch as surfers paddle out June 6 at Tourmaline Surfing Park.
(File)

On June 6, hundreds gather for a peaceful paddle-out at Tourmaline Surfing Park near Bird Rock to honor Floyd’s life. The event includes speeches and flowers thrown into the ocean.

Another paddle-out is held June 8 at Windansea Beach, during which suggestions are made as to how participants can process their feelings and get further involved in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Black Lives Matter caravan: A mile-long car caravan in support of the Black Lives Matter movement starts in La Jolla on June 6, traveling to locations across the county in honor of those who have been killed or harmed by police. The event starts at the Torrey Pines Gliderport, where demonstrators add protest messages to their cars before making their way to 14 different stops.

Black Lives Matter demonstrators march from La Jolla Cove to Windansea Beach on June 12.
(File)

Black Lives Matter march: Crowds of Black Lives Matter supporters gather June 12 at La Jolla’s Scripps Park and march peacefully to Windansea Beach, stopping at various points to listen to speakers on the need for racial justice.

Shores outdoor dining progresses: The La Jolla Shores Association votes to authorize its executive board to buy liability insurance as the next step in establishing outdoor dining on Avenida de la Playa in The Shores. Phil Wise of LJSA has filed a special-events application with the city of San Diego to allow LJSA and participating restaurants to close one block of Avenida de la Playa to vehicle traffic in order for restaurants to set up tables on the street.

Draft parks master plan: Several La Jolla organizations sign and submit a letter to the city of San Diego commenting on its draft parks master plan as it relates to parks in La Jolla. The parks plan seeks to align parks planning with the city’s vision and goals for sustainability, equity and livability. The letter from the La Jolla groups asks the city for clearer details on the plan as well as an opportunity to have more input in the process.

Ideas for clearing “The Throat”: The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board hears ideas to ease congestion at “The Throat,” the intersection of Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla Parkway and Hidden Valley Road. Suggestions include removing vegetation to allow more cars to stack at the traffic signal and removing portions of concrete that “bulb out” into the intersection.

Outdoor dining snag: The La Jolla Shores Association hits a roadblock in its plan to close one block of Avenida de la Playa to vehicle traffic so restaurants can set up tables on the street amid pandemic-related restrictions: It must pay for a police officer to ticket and a towing company to tow cars parked past 10:30 a.m., when restaurants would need to close the street to begin setting up. At the time, the outdoor dining program is set for 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily beginning July 9.

July


New Muirlands principal: Jeff Luna, former vice principal of Muirlands Middle School, is appointed the school’s new principal. He succeeds Geof Martin, who retired. Luna says his focus would be sorting out reopening and distance learning options amid the pandemic.

An illustration from San Diego's Complete Communities website shows elements of the initiative.
(File)

Complete Communities: The La Jolla Community Planning Association starts to delve into a San Diego initiative known as Complete Communities. The initiative has four parts: a parks master plan, a mobility choices initiative, a housing solutions plan and facilities financing. Local leaders say community groups were not informed as the plan was being developed. La Jolla community advisory groups are asked to study it and report back.

“ChalkUp” in La Jolla: A “ChalkUp” event is held in La Jolla, during which participants write messages in support of the Black Lives Matter movement in chalk on the Fay Avenue Bike Path. A few days later, crews with the city of San Diego power-wash the drawings away, citing complaints from nearby residents who considered the writings “offensive.”

New MAD manager: Mary Montgomery is appointed the new La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District manager. Enhance La Jolla administers MAD with authority to work to improve city-provided services, including landscape maintenance, street and sidewalk cleaning, litter and graffiti abatement and additional trash collection.

New project name: UC San Diego announces that the Future College Living and Learning Neighborhood has been renamed the Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood. The La Jolla Shores Association remains steadfast in its concerns about the project, including potential traffic congestion and environmental impacts and what the group sees as the university’s lack of cooperation with the community.

Statement of Diversity: The La Jolla Village Merchants Association adopts a Statement of Diversity, which includes “pillars” to which a focus on diversity will be applied: organizational excellence, promotions and media, merchant education, resource and economic development, and design.

A La Jolla Shores outdoor dining program closed one block of Avenida de la Playa to vehicle traffic.
(File)

Outdoor dining opens: After months of planning and negotiations with the city of San Diego, the La Jolla Shores Association opens its outdoor dining program on Avenida de la Playa between El Paseo Grande and Calle de la Plata. Every day, restaurants have tables and chairs outside on the closed street.

PDO mural guidelines: The La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee, as part of its ongoing task of reviewing public displays for whether they are murals or marketing, forms a subcommittee to come up with guidelines for future installations. At issue is that a “sign” needs a city permit and therefore would go before the board for approval, but there is not an approval process for a “mural,” and some have taken to painting murals on their exterior walls with promotional materials in them, such as the name of a business.

August


In-person instruction waiver: Gillispie School, La Jolla Country Day School, The Bishop’s School, San Diego French-American School, The Children’s School and The Evans School in La Jolla all receive a waiver to allow them to open for in-person instruction, despite the state’s mandate that schools in counties struggling with COVID-19 offer online education only.

Rec Center renovation plans: The planned La Jolla Recreation Center renovation achieves a clean sweep in conceptual approval from local community planning groups when the La Jolla Community Planning Association gives unanimous approval during its Aug. 6 meeting. The design plans were approved earlier by the La Jolla Recreation Advisory Group Visioning Committee, Development Permit Review Committee, Parks & Beaches, Planned District Ordinance Committee and Traffic & Transportation Board.

Fire destroyed a home in the 2500 block of Caminito La Paz in La Jolla on Aug. 10. Two bodies were found inside.
(File)

Fatal fire: A two-alarm fire rips through a La Jolla home early Aug. 10, killing 80-year-old Robert Keefe and his granddaughter, 9-year-old Angie Keefe. Two others suffered minor injuries. The fire was reported at about 3:45 a.m. at the two-story house in the 2500 block of Caminito La Paz, a dead-end street off Hidden Valley Road south of La Jolla Parkway. The fire was deemed an accident.

Judy Swain, Laura Shawver and Julie Swain (along with Tracy Macuga, not pictured), worked to clear weeds on Fay Avenue.
From left, Judy Swain, Laura Shawver and Julie Swain (along with Tracy Macuga, not pictured), worked to clear weeds on Fay Avenue.
(Courtesy)

Adopt-a-tree program: La Jollans Tracy Macuga, Laura Shawver, Judy Swain and twin sister Julie Swain initiate their own adopt-a-tree program and work for more than a month to rid eight trees of weeds and discarded trash along Fay Avenue between West Muirlands Drive and Nautilus Street.

Distance learning: San Diego Unified School District schools — including five in La Jolla — begin the 2020-21 school year online in a “distance learning” format Aug. 31.

September


TDLLN postponement request: In the days leading to the Sept. 3 La Jolla Community Planning Association meeting, UC San Diego withdraws a planned presentation about the Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood, further stoking concerns that the public lacks input on the development. At the meeting, LJCPA votes to send a letter to the UC Board of Regents asking that it delay its impending vote on the project until the community has a chance to hear about the development in a public forum. A week later, the La Jolla Shores Association does the same.

Beach fires: The La Jolla Parks & Beaches advisory group takes up the issue of illegal bonfires at Marine Street Beach and forms a subcommittee with representatives of Parks & Beaches and the La Jolla Shores Association and affected residents.

Signs at the La Jolla Recreation Center indicate guidelines for use.
(File)

Rec Center fields open: The La Jolla Recreation Center fields and ball courts open for “passive use” by those who adhere to social distancing and other public health guidelines. Rec Center Director Jesse DeLille specifies that passive use is small groups using the open areas for casual, “not organized” activity. The Rec Center building remains closed.

Second “ChalkUp”: A second “ChalkUp” event in support of the Black Lives Matter movement is held on the Fay Avenue Bike Path with about 40 participants.

UCSD project gets first OK: The UC Board of Regents’ Finance and Capital Strategies Committee votes to give design and environmental approval to UC San Diego’s planned Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood, though it delays approval of the project’s budget pending financial clarifications.

Traffic ideas called infeasible: The city of San Diego says none of the ideas proposed to ease traffic at the La Jolla intersection known as “The Throat” — such as extending the left-turn pocket — is feasible, leading the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board to again seek a comprehensive study of the area.

LJSA grant: The La Jolla Shores Association is awarded $15,000 in grant money from San Diego County’s Neighborhood Reinvestment Program to help with the costs of its outdoor dining program.

Third “ChalkUp”: A third “ChalkUp” event is held after the city of San Diego washed away the drawings from an event earlier in the month. This time, city staff announces the writings are “free speech” and that city crews will not be dispatched to wash them away.

Controversial comments: After the third “ChalkUp,” two members of the La Jolla Parks & Beaches board, Marie Hunrichs and Mary Ellen Morgan, make comments critical of the city’s decision not to remove the writings and of Black Lives Matter. Members of the public soon ask for their removal from the board.

Village cleanup: On Sept. 23, the La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District, in partnership with a volunteer crew from La Jolla Golf Carts, removes and disposes of 26 abandoned newsstands that were on sidewalks throughout The Village, according to District Manager Mary Montgomery.

October

Caution tape is spread across the La Jolla/Riford Library to prevent crowding, but books can still be checked out.
(File)

Library reopens: The La Jolla/Riford Library is one of a dozen San Diego city libraries that reopen for indoor services Oct. 3, with capacity limited to 25 percent. The opening follows more than six months of closure because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Two-part sign program: Following the advice of California Coastal Commission staff, the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board starts a process to determine costs and timelines for a two-part directional signage program. The first part includes signs posted throughout The Village directing pedestrians to area landmarks and beaches. The second part includes electronic signs directing drivers to area parking garages and indicating how many spaces are available in each.

Shores Association files suit: The La Jolla Shores Association and the homeowners association for Blackhorse Farms file a lawsuit to fight UC San Diego’s planned Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood. The lawsuit against UCSD and the University of California is filed in San Diego County Superior Court.

First phase of school reopening: The San Diego Unified School District brings back small groups of students who are struggling with online learning or have special needs for in-person learning support, representing the first phase of the district’s reopening plan from coronavirus-related campus closures. (It remains unclear when SDUSD campuses will reopen to all students.)

The Children’s School goes solar: The Children’s School on Torrey Pines Lane in La Jolla unveils its new solar panels, which generate 100 percent of the power for the campus. The multiyear project is funded by a private donor.

Attempted kidnapping: A man tries to kidnap a toddler from the child’s caregiver in La Jolla Hermosa Park on Oct. 14, stating that the child should not be with the caregiver because she is Hispanic and the child is White. A suspect is arrested hours later after he is seen in the water along a rocky area near La Jolla Cove. He is later charged with kidnapping, battery and a hate crime.

The Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla is a 2,200-square-foot LithoMosaic at Kellogg Park in La Jolla Shores.
The Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla is a 2,200-square-foot LithoMosaic at Kellogg Park in La Jolla Shores. It features more than 100 mosaics of creatures found off the area’s shoreline and underwater canyons.
(File)

“The Map” opens: The Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla Educational Plaza at Kellogg Park in La Jolla Shores opens to the public Oct. 19. The installation features hundreds of thousands of mosaic tiles embedded in the ground to make up a 2,200-square-foot LithoMosaic containing more than 100 life-size depictions of creatures found just offshore, as well as markers of significant underwater canyons and varying shades of blue to mark ocean depths.

Rotarians net $7,000 for Coast Walk: A fundraising hike Oct. 22 organized by Friends of Coast Walk Trail and La Jolla’s five Rotary clubs raises $7,000 to repair an eroded slope alongside the trail. Coast Walk Trail lies between Coast Walk (a short street west of Torrey Pines Road between Prospect Place and Amalfi Street) and Goldfish Point, including a walking path and bridge.

Red Rest destroyed by fire: La Jolla’s Red Rest cottage burns down in a fire early Oct. 26. The adjacent Red Roost cottage is damaged. The two are considered The Village’s oldest structures. The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department’s Metro Arson Strike Team investigators said the cause of the blaze could not be determined. The estimated cost of the damage was $175,000.

November

Joe LaCava's official San Diego City Council portrait.
(Courtesy)

Joe LaCava elected to council: La Jollan Joe LaCava is elected to the San Diego City Council, representing District 1, which covers La Jolla, Carmel Valley, University City, Torrey Pines, Torrey Hills, Pacific Highlands Ranch and Del Mar Mesa. He replaces La Jolla resident Barbara Bry, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor. He claimed 61 percent of District 1 votes.

Barbara Bry looks back: In reflecting on her mayoral run, La Jollan and City Councilwoman Barbara Bry said she considers the defeat by voters of the SoccerCity initiative (a 2018 proposal to redevelop the SDCCU Stadium site with a professional soccer stadium) “a legacy” and is proud that she “called out” the city’s 101 Ash St. scandal, saw the construction of a fire station at UC San Diego and the HAWK beacon over Torrey Pines Road during her term and assisted in creation of The Map of the Grand Canyons of La Jolla Educational Plaza in La Jolla Shores.

Complete Communities heard: Despite criticism from local planning groups, the San Diego City Council hears the city’s Complete Communities proposal and approves the transit and housing components during a special meeting Nov. 9. It leaves the parks plan to be decided by the next council.

EXCITE-ing: A UC San Diego lab creates the Expedited COVID IdenTification Environment (EXCITE) program to offer low-cost, rapid coronavirus tests to local schools and organizations. La Jolla Country Day School, The Bishop’s School, San Diego French-American School and The Evans School, all private schools in La Jolla, have signed on to test their staff and students.

La Jolla High BSU: La Jolla High School establishes a dedicated Black Student Union. Though there has been a BSU presence on campus in recent years, it was in partnership with M.E.Ch.A., a Chicano unity and empowerment organization, and was known as BECHA. This year, BSU, helmed by 16-year-old Diyln Norris and faculty advisor Whitney Brooks, plans to push for social change.

Drive-in signing day: Seventeen La Jolla student-athletes participate in the reconfigured National Signing Day on Nov. 11, held as a drive-in event at Petco Park. Each student’s letter of intent commits him or her to play a sport for a National Collegiate Athletic Association college for at least one academic year.

The "Race Talks" webinar Nov. 18.
Clockwise from top left: La Jolla Historical Society Executive Director Heath Fox, UC San Diego Athletic Director Earl Edwards and former congressional candidate Jim DeBello appear at the “Race Talks” webinar Nov. 18.
(Courtesy)

“Race Talks”: The La Jolla Historical Society presents a webinar titled “Race Talks” on Nov. 18 with UC San Diego Athletic Director and La Jolla Rotary Club member Earl Edwards and 2020 congressional candidate Jim DeBello (R-Point Loma). The two focus on the importance of having difficult conversations about racism, along with strategies to help facilitate them.

TDLLN moves forward: Despite an ongoing lawsuit against the project filed by the La Jolla Shores Association and the Blackhorse Farms homeowners association, University of California regents vote Nov. 18 to approve the budget, scope and external financing of UC San Diego’s planned Theatre District Living and Learning Neighborhood.

Crash kills two: Two passengers are killed when a car driven by a man suspected of being under the influence crashes into a tree while speeding in La Jolla early Nov. 22, according to police. The driver was jailed on two counts of vehicular manslaughter and two counts of felony driving under the influence. He later posted bail and arraignment was set for spring.

Women of Distinction: Six La Jolla women and two local students are among those honored by state Assemblyman and San Diego Mayor-elect Todd Gloria during the 2020 78th Assembly District Women of Distinction celebration: Ann Kerr Bache, Dr. Nicole Coufal, Beret Dernbach, Hanna Jaff, Sara Safari, Treger Strasberg, Lindsey Volz and Natasha Wong.

December


Chalk writing defaced: On Dec. 3 it is discovered that writings from a November “ChalkUp” event were defaced. Some were crossed out with chalk, organizers say. Other drawings were written over with messages such as “Trump,” “Devil” or “Sick of your liberal BS.”

Continued calls for removal: Calls for the removal of two La Jolla Parks & Beaches board members over their controversial statements about Black Lives Matter and the La Jolla Bike Path chalk drawings continue at the December LJP&B meeting.

LaCava sworn in: Joe LaCava is sworn in as the new District 1 City Council member in an online ceremony. His wife, Bird Rock Elementary School teacher Lorene LaCava, administers the oath of office.

Coastal Rail Trail: The La Jolla Community Planning Association asks the city of San Diego to rework its plan for the La Jolla portion of its Coastal Rail Trail project. The Coastal Rail Trail is a planned continuous bike route running about 44 miles between Oceanside and the Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego. The La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board heard about the portion planned to run through La Jolla — on Gilman Drive between La Jolla Village Drive and Interstate 5 — during its November meeting but did not vote.

Short-term rental regulation: The San Diego Planning Commission votes to forward proposed short-term vacation rental regulations to the City Council for a vote and possible implementation. The proposed ordinance would require a license to operate a short-term rental, and licenses would be distributed via a lottery.

Class dismissed: Four teachers with a combined 115 years of experience at La Jolla’s Torrey Pines Elementary School retire: Wendy Gillespie, Dene Hilsen, Cathy Isom and Jana Keating opted to take the San Diego Unified School District’s latest offer of early retirement. Also retiring are Bird Rock Elementary School teacher Lorene LaCava and La Jolla Elementary School teacher Allison Carpenter. ◆