La Jolla News Nuggets: Scripps belvedere, SDUSD budget, The Lot, development challenge, fundraisers, more

Two belvederes are pictured on the ocean side of Scripps Park in La Jolla.

Parks & Beaches board seeks barrier extension at Scripps Park belvedere

The La Jolla Parks & Beaches board last week unanimously approved drafting a letter to send to the city of San Diego asking that it extend the fence around one of the belvederes at Scripps Park.

“There is a 3-foot-wide opening on either side of the belvedere that leads people down to the bluff,” said trustee Melinda Merryweather. “What happens is … through the years of people pounding down on either side of that belvedere, it has worn the sand and dirt down. Then people get in front of the belvedere to take pictures of people in the belvedere. It’s a huge safety issue.”

She said the bluff on the other side of the belvedere is “2½ feet of dirt and a 30-foot drop.”

The remedy, she said, is a post-and-pole fence extension, and she requested the letter to ask the city to install it.

Steve Hadley, representing the office of City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose district includes La Jolla, said he had seen photos of the eroded bluff and submitted a note requesting that the city Parks & Recreation Department “bring the current barriers in closer to the belvedere to prevent people from slipping between.”

A chain has since been put up as a temporary step, but people can climb under the chain, so the board requested a more permanent measure.

SDUSD doesn’t foresee significant budget cuts next school year

The San Diego Unified School District doesn’t believe it will need to make significant budget cuts next school year because revenue from the state continues to look healthy, board President Richard Barrera said.

In March, the district projected it would need $71 million in cuts — or new revenue — for next school year.

“The level of state revenue has been healthy enough; it’s enabled us to balance our budget every year without making significant cuts to programs,” Barrera said.

Barrera said San Diego Unified didn’t need federal COVID-19 relief money to balance its budget, but relief funds have paid for extra costs of the pandemic, such as the costs to expand summer school and provide online distance learning and free meals to students.

SDUSD has an $880 million unrestricted budget. This school year, its fall enrollment dropped by about 4 percent to about 97,000 students; in a typical year, its enrollment has dropped by 1 percent.

Most districts’ enrollment fell more sharply than usual this year because of COVID. Many schools that closed campuses during the pandemic lost students to private schools, charter schools or
home schooling.

Enrollment matters because districts receive state funding based on how many students are attending their schools. But districts won’t feel the effects of drops in enrollment until the 2022-23 school year, according to Mike Simonson, deputy county superintendent of schools. That’s because districts were “held harmless” for attendance counts for school funding purposes this year.

All but five of San Diego County’s school districts are projecting a deficit in 2022-23, including San Diego Unified. — The San Diego Union-Tribune

The Lot welcomes back movie-goers

The Lot La Jolla is expected to reopen to movie-goers this week, with an expected first day Thursday, May 6. The deluxe movie theater at 7611 Fay Ave. will screen a reduced number of feature films during its reopening week.

The opening had been expected May 5 but was postponed because of an air conditioning problem.

Coronavirus safety measures include employee temperature checks, frequent cleaning of theater amenities, social distancing, low-touch serving practices, personal protective equipment for staff and more.

“We are extremely excited that people want to get back to cinemas,” said The Lot Chief Executive Adolfo Fastlicht. “We wanted to open as soon as possible … but it hasn’t been fun and it hasn’t been easy.”

He said revenue fell 90 percent during the pandemic and that the company was supported through Paycheck Protection Program loans.

“We are excited people are getting vaccinated and capacity reductions are changing,” he said. “We were hit with a double whammy when we had to close and studios started streaming to people’s homes. But people want an experience; that’s what we offer.”

La Jolla Concours event organizer killed by man falling from parking garage is remembered as an ‘incredible soul’

Taylor Kahle worked on the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance car show since 2012.
(Courtesy of Laurel McFarlane)

Organizers of the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance are remembering Taylor Kahle, who worked on the annual car show since 2012 for event coordinator McFarlane Promotions. Kahle was killed April 25 when a man plunged from the ninth-floor balcony of a parking structure near Petco Park in downtown San Diego and landed on her. She died a week before her 30th birthday.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of this incredible soul who touched our lives in such a meaningful way,” Concours d’Elegance Chairman G. Michael Dorvillier stated in an online message. “I ... have been reminded of how this extremely quiet, shy girl had blossomed into such an amazing young lady.

“Aside from managing and organizing all the committee meetings and members, she was responsible for our communications to the car entrants (approximately 200), 25-30 sponsors, hospitality suites and their guests (approximately 1,200), and the judges (about 150 with guests). ... She was so proud of how well she managed getting all the cars on the field in a timely and organized manner.”

Kahle began working at San Diego-based McFarlane Promotions in 2012 as an intern and progressed to an assistant and an event manager.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise funds for an upcoming by-invitation celebration of life event. The effort had raised nearly $11,500 as of May 4. The page says any excess funds will be donated to the Alzheimer’s Association and San Diego Humane Society. For more information, email

La Jolla boutique to raise funds for Rady’s Children’s Hospital

Be Boutique, one of the newer retailers in La Jolla, will host a fundraiser May 6-8 with 20 percent of sales going to the Chadwick Center for Children & Families at Rady Children’s Hospital.

Be Boutique, which opened in April at 7910 Ivanhoe Ave., offers clothing, jewelry, accessories and gifts.

The Chadwick Center offers programs and services for the prevention, identification and treatment of abused and traumatized children, as well as women impacted by domestic violence.

UCSD group wins real estate development challenge

Students from UC San Diego won the NAIOP San Diego University Challenge for their development plan for a site in Kearny Mesa.
(Courtesy of NAIOP San Diego)

A team of undergraduate students from UC San Diego’s department of urban studies and planning won NAIOP San Diego’s 11th annual University Challenge with its plan for the development of a site in Kearny Mesa.

The UCSD team, composed of Khalid Akhrass, Justin Kim, Katharina Schultz, Kristine Shen, Logan Swanson and Natalie Tran, presented CHI, their mixed-use development plan for the 17.8-acre site.

The site is already partially developed, but for purposes of the challenge, students were told to imagine the land is vacant and rough-graded and to create development plans for its best use.

The UCSD team’s $414 million winning plan proposed two phases of construction to include high-tech office space, multifamily homes with associated storage space, a food park and open space. The students also envisioned a 10,400-square-foot occupancy from blue-tech company BlueNalu.

The final presentations and judging took place April 22 on Zoom in front of a live audience.

Merchants Association launches survey

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association has launched a survey for locals and visitors intended to improve the quality of the experience of visiting La Jolla Village. The five-minute survey can be accessed at, about halfway down the homepage.

Questions include demographic information, what attracts participants to The Village, what would motivate participants to shop or dine in The Village more often, and more.

La Jolla Presbyterian Church to host blood drive

La Jolla Presbyterian Church will host a blood drive in partnership with the San Diego Blood Bank from 8:15 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 16, at 7715 Draper Ave.

Donors must present a photo ID, be 17 or older, weigh at least 114 pounds and be in good health. COVID-19 antibody testing will be provided on request. Donors will receive a San Diego Blood Bank 70th-anniversary T-shirt (while supplies last).

To schedule an appointment, call (619) 400-8251 or visit

Promises2Kids hosts campaign with local restaurants to benefit children in foster care

Promises2Kids is running a fundraising campaign called “Foodies 4 Foster Kids” through May to celebrate National Foster Care Month and is partnering with 23 restaurants, including three in La Jolla.

The local participating restaurants are Mermaids & Cowboys, Mustangs & Burros at the Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa and Urban Plates.

Each restaurant has designated select menu items to support the campaign. People can support Foodies 4 Foster Kids by dining in or ordering online. There also is an option to give an online monetary contribution.

Funds raised will benefit efforts to help foster children by reuniting siblings living apart in foster care, supporting high school and college students in reaching their educational goals, providing birthday gifts, school clothes, opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities and more.

For more information, visit

La Jolla chemist named to National Academy of Sciences

Donna Blackmond, a professor at Scripps Research in La Jolla who is credited with expanding the world’s understanding of the chemistry of life, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences in recognition of her “distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”

Blackmond also is a member of the La Jolla Development Permit Review Committee.

Blackmond pioneered development of a technique called Reaction Progress Kinetic Analysis, or RPKA, a method for streamlining chemical reactions that is now becoming an industrywide standard for pharmaceutical research and development. In addition, her groundbreaking work on the molecular geometry in the building blocks of the natural world — a property known as “chirality” — has implications ranging from designing effective therapeutics to the origins of life on Earth.

“Working with my organic chemistry colleagues at Scripps Research is like being a kid in a candy store,” Blackmond said. “I am so grateful for the support and collaboration I receive from them and from colleagues at all the other institutions who have played an instrumental role in my career.”

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution established in 1863. It provides science, engineering and health policy advice to the federal government and other organizations.

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff