A year in review

The big news items of 2008

A lot happened in the Jewel in 2008. Much progress was made in the throes of intense economic upheaval and technological change.

Mount Soledad Road reopens

Slightly more than a year after a landslide collapsed Soledad Mountain Road it was reopened at an October press conference.

Repairs were made with sheer pins, acting much like nails, pinning the massive structural support of the road to the hillside. Work is continuing on installing more sheer pins below Soledad Mountain Road on Desert View Drive at the base of the landslide area.

Damage caused by the catastrophe is likely to top $48 million. On Oct. 3, the one-year anniversary of the landslide, attorneys representing 61 homeowners and more than 100, plaintiffs were in court. Lawsuits against the city from affected property owners allege leaky underground water pipes caused the slide. The city has denied any liability saying it was an act of nature.

Roundabouts in Bird Rock

The end of a seven-year traffic-calming project came in June when construction of the last three of five roundabout traffic circles in Bird Rock was finally completed.

Bird Rock became the first San Diego County community to feature a distinctive, linear set of traffic circles.

Months-long construction, which included utilities work, took its toll on local businesses, several of which went under. But the businesses that endured are faring better now as business is reviving.

Landmark sports event

The U.S. Open came to San Diego County for the first time from June 9 to 15 at Torrey Pines Golf Course in La Jolla hosted by the sold-out Lodge at Torrey Pines.

Golf legend Tiger Woods won the tournament in a sudden-death playoff, despite an injured knee. The event brought national exposure and a much-needed infusion of capital to the local economy.

However, local merchants were disappointed that a decision by the city to use Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley as the transportation hub for the tournament event. Merchants felt out of the circulation “loop.”

La Jolla Shores Map

The Map, an educational project spearheaded by La Jolla Shores community activist Mary Coakley, was unveiled in September adjoining Kellogg Park playground. The unique, 63-foot-long in-ground sculpture contains 55 realistic painted bronze fish and invertebrates found in La Jolla coastal underwater park and reserve.

As a teaching tool, it is hoped the map will not only inform children about underwater life, but inspire them to preserve the marine environment in the future.

Professor shares Nobel Prize

UCSD professor Roger Tsien was named co-recipient of the 2008 Nobel Prize in Chemistry in October for his pioneering work in developing and applying fluorescent protein probes to be used as “tagging tools” by scientists to monitor the inner workings of cellular function.

Market celebrates 10th year

The La Jolla Open Aire Market, held Sundays at La Jolla Elementary School, celebrated its 10th anniversary in October.

The market, started by community activist Sherry Ahern as a fundraiser to support the school, has raised $1 million to support elementary education.

Medical center milestone

UCSD medical center celebrated its 40th anniversary. The school, which started with a class of 44 students in fall 1968 with a small faculty and limited facilities, has grown to 550 students, including 70 doctors and Ph.Ds with more than 900 medical faculty. The school now ranks second nationally in attracting federal research dollars.

New councilwoman seated

Longtime La Jolla community planner and grass-roots candidate Sherri Lightner replaced a termed-out Scott Peters to represent District 1, which includes La Jolla, Carmel Valley, Del Mar Mesa, Rancho Penasquitos, Torrey Hills, Torrey Highlands, Torrey Pines and University City.

Lightner learned just how unpredictable her new office could be when she was whisked away to the scene of a military jet crash in a University City neighborhood just minutes after being inaugurated in early December.

Neighbors vs. synagogue

Neighbors in La Jolla’s Hidden Valley near the “Throat” intersection formed a grass-roots group in mid-2008.

The group opposed plans by Chabad to demolish an existing single-family home and replace it with a two-story, 11,666-square-foot structure to include a synagogue, a rabbi’s residence, a social hall with kitchen and a small preschool.

Local residents roundly rejected the proposal, claiming it would threaten public safety. It still has to go to the City Council.

Suspects sentenced

In November, Seth Cravens was found guilty in the second-degree murder of professional surfer Emery Kauanui.

Cravens will be sentenced Jan. 12. Four accomplices in the incident pled guilty to lesser charges in Kauanui’s death earlier and were sentenced to time in local custody.

Bishop’s celebrates centennial

The Bishop’s School began its year-long centennial celebration, which continues with events through May.

Cottage donation

In July, Ellen Clark Revelle, widow of UCSD founder Roger Revelle and daughter Mary Revelle Paci, donated the 1904 Wisteria Cottage and its surrounding grounds to the La Jolla Historical Society. The Historical Society plans to turn the cottage, and two other historic structures on the property, into a museum of La Jolla history, modern storage for the Society’s archives collection, an education center, a gift shop, exhibit space and an event venue.

Kayak controversy

In August, the city proposed restricting kayaks in the water during peak summer season from mid-June to Labor Day.

Lifeguards saw an increase in accidents between kayaks and swimmers. The city is finalizing a lottery-like selection for launching timeslots by operators on busy weekends.

One kayak operator, Rodney M. Watkins, owner of Scuba San Diego, has sued the city challenging its right to charge annual fees to businesses using the city’s sole coastal launch ramp at the Shores.

Parking in La Jolla

In April, the 2-year-old, nine-member La Jolla Community Parking District Advisory Board was essentially disbanded by then-First District Councilman Scott Peters.

A major sticking point was a proposal by Promote La Jolla, the community’s Business Improvement District, to launch a pilot, paid, on-street parking program in La Jolla’s downtown Village.

The proposal set off a groundswell of opposition from local residents and several merchants who believe paid, on-street parking could destroy the Jewel’s village atmosphere.