La Jolla News Nuggets: Streetlight repair; school play goes on; Scripps Coastal Reserve; infrastructure; more

Streetlights at Calle Frescota and La Jolla Shores Drive
La Jolla Shores residents say workers were attending to these streetlights Feb. 4 at Calle Frescota and La Jolla Shores Drive that residents said had been out for nearly two years.
(Brian Earley)

Streetlights in The Shores under repair

After months in the dark, residents of La Jolla Shores say the city of San Diego appears to be working to repair several streetlights, though none of the lights were on yet.

Shores resident Charles Froeb said he saw city employees on Calle Frescota and La Jolla Shores Drive working on the lights Feb. 4.

Two lights at the intersection of those streets were out for nearly two years, according to resident Brian Earley. He said he also saw city workers “standing around the lights.”

Some lights have been out for years, residents say. The city of San Diego says steps are being taken to improve response times and address the volume of reports.

And resident Charlie Brown said he saw a city worker “looking at the streetlight on the lot next to mine.”

However, Earley and Brown said early this week that the lights were still out at those locations, as well as on Calle Frescota and Paseo del Ocaso.

City spokesman Anthony Santacroce said the streetlights in that area are part of an ongoing project to place power lines underground and that the city “continues to work through the intricate job of replacing and updating old underground infrastructure that will illuminate these lights.”

Residents have reported the outages on the city’s Get It Done app and waited months and sometimes years with no resolution.

Brown said he surveyed the lights on La Jolla Shores Drive and Paseo del Ocaso on Feb. 1 and found that of 31 streetlights, 18 were not working.

“It’s unacceptable,” he said.

Steve Hadley, field representative for City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, told the La Jolla Community Planning Association on Feb. 3 that the streets division of the city Transportation Department is planning “to show up in The Shores sometime in the next few weeks with an electrical crew to work on streetlights.”

With several lights also out throughout Bird Rock and The Village, Hadley said his office has asked if the city also can repair those.

The matter will be discussed further at the La Jolla Shores Association meeting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 9, online. Learn more at

La Jolla High School allowed to perform musical indoors

The show will go on at La Jolla High School — indoors — after parents and others involved in the theater department’s upcoming performance of “West Side Story” raised an outcry over what they considered unfair treatment after being told indoor performances would not be allowed because of COVID-19 restrictions.

After months of rehearsals and other preparations for its upcoming production of “West Side Story,” the La Jolla High School Theatre Arts Department has been told that indoor performances must be moved outdoors due to the recent regional spike in COVID-19 coronavirus cases.

Andrew Sharp, chief of public information for the San Diego Unified School District, told the La Jolla Light on Feb. 8 that “the show will certainly be taking place.” The school theater department, led by teacher Stacey Allen, and its booster club had been told a decision on allowing indoor performances would probably come Feb. 9.

According to new district guidance, indoor events and activities are permitted to resume as of Thursday, Feb. 10, provided the event coordinators, participants and guests adhere to updated health and safety protocols, including wearing masks unless actively practicing, conditioning, competing or performing; providing proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative coronavirus test for events with more than 1,000 people; maintaining six feet of distance between groups; and eating food outdoors.

The ban on indoor events, prompted by rising coronavirus cases, came Jan. 28, four weeks before the opening of the musical. The production, which students have worked on for months, has cost the department more than $12,000, mostly from donations.

Many of the show’s supporters wrote letters opposing the ban, given that there had been no virus outbreaks as a result of rehearsals and that high school athletes are allowed to play indoors following a 2021 court ruling that allowed all high school sports to resume.

“West Side Story” will run weekends Friday, Feb. 25, through Saturday, March 5. To learn more, visit

Scripps Coastal Reserve remains largely closed to the public

Scripps Coastal Reserve at UC San Diego, part of the University of California’s Natural Reserve System, remains largely closed to the public, with no full reopening in sight.

The reserve “will remain closed until further notice while the university considers reopening options,” said Leslie Sepuka, UCSD’s associate communications director.

During the closure, Sepuka said, members of the public may serve as maintenance volunteers from 8 to 10 a.m. Fridays or join a docent-led tour offered from 9 to 11 a.m. the second Saturday of each month.

Scripps Coastal Reserve encompasses nearly 1,000 acres adjacent to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, including an upland area called the “Knoll” or “Cliffs” and the shoreline and Marine Protected Area below the cliffs.

The reserve has been closed since March 2020 at the onset of restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

City Councilman Joe LaCava to discuss infrastructure in online event

San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, will discuss city infrastructure with San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria and other city leaders at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 16, online.

The event will cover how San Diego decides to build parks and libraries and fix roads, plus resident advocacy and more.

The session is part of a series; other evenings with different council members are offered on other days. To register, visit

Prominent La Jolla environmentalist Art Cooley dies

Longtime La Jolla resident Art Cooley has died, leaving behind a legacy of environmental work.

Cooley co-founded the Environmental Defense Fund in the 1970s from his home on Long Island, N.Y. The group grew to be one of the country’s largest environmental protection organizations.

Cooley’s founding of the EDF followed his efforts with fellow activists in the 1960s to stop the use of the pesticide DDT, which was causing a decline in the population of osprey and other birds of prey. A legal battle led to DDT being banned in the United States.

Locally, Cooley and his wife, fellow environmentalist Bev Grant, worked to create safe places for ospreys to nest. Ospreys became endangered in the 1950s due to DDT. Their numbers are increasing, but osprey nests remain scarce in San Diego.

Cooley also was an advocate for protection of sea lions at La Jolla Cove.

La Jolla Institute for Immunology CEO is named to WHAM Collaborative

Erica Ollmann Saphire of the La Jolla Institute for Immunology
Erica Ollmann Saphire, chief executive of the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, has been named to the Women’s Health Access Matters Collaborative.

Erica Ollman Saphire, president and chief executive of the La Jolla Institute for Immunology, is one of seven women nationwide announced as new members of the Women’s Health Access Matters Collaborative.

WHAM is a nonprofit that works to increase awareness of and accelerate funding for women’s health research. Collaborative members work to identify and prioritize key questions for women’s health research, develop studies, collaborate on research and generate interest in the research community to focus on women’s health.

For more information, visit

Woman of the Year nominations are open

For the first time, the office of state Sen. Toni Atkins is reaching out to local communities for Woman of the Year nominations for the 39th Senate District, which includes La Jolla, according to Atkins representative Cole Reed. Submissions are due Friday, Feb. 18.

Woman of the Year honorees from across California are recognized on the Senator floor for their contributions to their communities, according to Atkins’ office. The 2021 Woman of the Year for the 39th District was Scripps Institution of Oceanography director Margaret Leinen.

For more information, go to

La Jolla Shores advisory board seeks two members

The La Jolla Shores Planned District Advisory Board is looking to fill two vacancies. Members are appointed by the San Diego mayor but may self-nominate.

To apply, visit and email a copy of your resumé to by Monday, Feb. 28.

Board members review all applications for permits, including applications for planned residential developments within La Jolla Shores Planned District and submits its recommendations or comments on these matters to a planning director.

— Compiled by La Jolla Light staff