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La Jolla Shores group puts up roadblock to running event’s use of Kellogg parking lot

The Ragnar Relay SoCal 2023 is scheduled to run through La Jolla Shores on Friday, April 14.
The Ragnar Relay SoCal 2023 is scheduled to run through La Jolla Shores on Friday, April 14. But the La Jolla Shores Association board did not support the event using the Kellogg Park parking lot.
(Screenshot by Elisabeth Frausto)

The Ragnar Relay SoCal proposed blocking 93 parking spaces for the event in April.

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The La Jolla Shores Association modified an event request for Kellogg Park and discussed beach safety and more at its virtual meeting Jan. 11.

Ragnar Relay SoCal 2023

The LJSA board voted for allowing runners in the Ragnar Relay SoCal in April to pass through Kellogg Park but to bar the event from taking up parking.

The Ragnar Relay is set for Friday and Saturday, April 14-15, during which about 240 teams of about seven people each will run a 200-mile route from downtown San Diego to Huntington Beach, stopping at several exchange points where team vans will pick up one runner and release another.

Race representative Katie Cordova said the route previously has run through La Jolla Shores on its way north, but she wanted to inaugurate Kellogg Park as Exchange Point 11 on April 14 this year.

With race times staggered, Cordova estimated the first runner would go through Kellogg Park at 2:25 p.m. and the last at 7:25 p.m., with peak time around 3 p.m.

She said Ragnar would need to block 93 parking spaces at Kellogg Park for the event and that the organization would supply staff members to help with exchanges, along with portable toilets, trash receptacles and other equipment.

The event does not require road closures, Cordova said.

LJSA board member Ross Rudolph said “this is an extremely popular beach. People come from all over. It’s an extremely well-used parking lot.”

Trustee Mary Coakley Munk noted that the April date is during the spring break peak at The Shores, when the parking lot is more crowded than usual and streets are clogged with traffic. “I am a little concerned how that works,” she said.

Cordova said race traffic often fits in well with regular traffic because “runners are so spread out.”

Board member Charlie Brown said, “I don’t think this kind of event on a spring break type of Friday afternoon is ideal for this location.”

The board unanimously passed a motion to support the event with the route used previously, without using the parking lot.

Phil Wise quits after an argument with LJSA President Janie Emerson about the handling of a Challenged Athletes Foundation event.

Wood beach fire code

A San Diego fire ring at La Jolla Shores
An amendment to the San Diego municipal code to ban wood beach fires outside city-provided rings passed the City Council a second time.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

LJSA members commended San Diego City Council members for unanimously finalizing an amendment to the municipal code that explicitly bans wood bonfires on city beaches unless those fires are inside designated rings.

The amendment, which first passed Dec. 13 and again on second reading Jan. 10, follows years of advocacy by community groups in La Jolla and other beach communities that say such fires are a safety hazard and cause pollution.

The amended code goes into effect 30 days after the mayor signed it Jan. 13.

LJSA board member Meinrat “Andi” Andreae, who has worked on the advocacy efforts, said, “I want to thank the people who were very enthusiastic and very active in helping to get this ordinance passed — both council member [Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla] and the many citizens who supported this amendment.”

Dorie DeFranco, a resident of La Jolla’s Barber Tract neighborhood, said, “I’m very pleased with the outcome and looking forward to … reduced pollution … and very hopeful that we’ll get enforcement.”

Public safety

Lifeguards: San Diego lifeguard Lt. Lonnie Stephens said lifeguards have been on “high alert” as recent storms have brought massive waves to the La Jolla area, sometimes 15 to 20 feet.

In times of high surf, “use extreme caution in and around the beach area, especially if you’re on the low-lying, rocky coastline areas,” Stephens said. “Encourage people to stay well away from the ocean, and if you choose to go out in the ocean, make sure ... you are in an area where lifeguards are present.”

Starting Saturday, Jan. 21, Stephens said, the night crew staged in La Jolla for emergency response — after the lifeguard stations close at sunset — will have an additional sergeant nightly.

“That’ll certainly improve the public safety, the aquatic safety and also just the overall safety of our lifeguards when we’re active in response, especially in the water,” he said.

Police: Lt. Rick Aguilar of the San Diego Police Department’s Northern Division, which includes La Jolla, is moving on, he told LJSA.

Aguilar said he was transferred Jan. 7 to the special services division as commanding officer of the SWAT and air support units.

“It’s been awesome working with you guys,” Aguilar said.

Aguilar introduced the Northern Division’s new lieutenant, Bryan Brecht, a longtime beach team sergeant who “brings a lot of years of experience. He’s going to do an outstanding job.”

Brecht said he has focused on homelessness the past five years and is now “trying to wrap my head around all the issues in the [Northern Division’s] communities.”

Division Community Relations Officer Jessica Thrift is staying on, Aguilar said. ◆