Letters to the Editor - La Jolla and San Diego: A marriage made in heaven; plus readers comment about school calendar, overflowing trash cans, tap water safety, dog-walkers, drivers using cell phones


• GUEST COMMENTARY - La Jolla and San Diego: A marriage made in heaven — In past letters to the La Jolla Light and at community meetings, one hears that with a wished-for gift of $2 million La Jolla could secede from the City of San Diego. My view is that La Jolla is better off remaining part of San Diego. I like voting in San Diego elections for Council District 1, mayor, city attorney and the school board. I would not want to find myself in a smaller pond — Del Mar II, as it were.

While other beach cities are nice, four decades ago I made a choice for the more urban, diverse, dynamic, scruffy, wild, low-key and uniquely perplexing culture of the La Jolla community of San Diego. While very much its own place, La Jolla is also unalterably intertwined with the urban culture of the City of San Diego. The University of California recognized this fact in the naming of its La Jolla campus as UC San Diego. With the same vision, the Art Center in La Jolla became the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.

La Jolla’s attachment to San Diego has its frustrations, but there are social benefits of being part of a larger society. Small homogeneous wealthy enclaves tend toward a claustrophobic, stupefying sameness. In contrast, the culture and messy politics of the La Jolla section of San Diego are always fascinating and vibrant.

As things are now, La Jolla is blessed with a very active core of volunteers who work tirelessly within the framework of the City of San Diego for the welfare of our local community. How that culture might change with secession is unknown. The La Jolla squabbles can become quite intense — see for example the current lawsuit brought against the La Jolla Community Planning Association. I believe the City of San Diego acts to modulate such fights and I am not sure who would keep things sane within a small separate city.

Moreover, on the positive side, I take great satisfaction from how the small community of La Jolla produces social good beyond the borders of ZIP code 92037. La Jolla was the first San Diego community to achieve a beach alcohol ban. After a massive battle led by the La Jolla Shores Association, the San Diego City Council voted for a test ban at La Jolla Shores beach. The results were so beneficial that ultimately the City Council expanded the ban to all beaches in San Diego.

La Jolla leadership made the difference. And, La Jolla leadership continues to make a difference for San Diego: La Jolla’s Community Planning Association president Joe LaCava chairs the City of San Diego Community Planners Committee; past CPA president Tim Golba chairs the City of San Diego Planning Commission; and as stated in the La Jolla Light headline of Dec. 18, 2014: “La Jolla’s Sherri Lightner takes reins as City Council president.”

La Jolla and San Diego have history together. Better to embrace than divorce. — John A. Berol

Back-to-school in August? Forget it! — San Diego Unified School District wants to change its calendar “to benefit students”? Forget interfering with summertime by starting school in the heat of August. Instead, SDUSD might trim:

1) Elementary half-day-Wednesdays that happen throughout the year;

2) Week-long half-days of instruction that precede the now-expanded weeklong Thanksgiving vacation;

3) A second week of half-days of instruction that precedes weeklong Spring vacation.

Those 10 half-days are supposed to cover parent-teacher conferences, which require working parents to figure out alternative childcare and show up at school for 10 minutes in the middle of a weekday afternoon. Whatever happened to report cards? By my count, in San Diego Unified only the months of September and October are without some kind of day off. — Frances O’Neill Zimmerman

• What do you know about your tap water? — Based on a letter in the March 26, 2015, La Jolla Light, someone has not been paying attention to local media for the past five years or so. There have been numerous articles in local newspapers, free tours of the Advanced Water Purification Facility (AWPF), television news items, public meetings, City Council sessions, and an entire website dedicated to the AWPF!

Many people share a lack of knowledge about water treatment processes, and, more importantly, no big picture view. San Diego’s tap water is hardly “pristine” (sic). It has been recycled many times before it reaches our distribution system.

Our water supply comes from the end of the pipe, and includes treated municipal wastewater, treated and untreated industrial wastewater, agricultural irrigation runoff, precipitation runoff, and myriad of constituents ranging from simple dirt and sediments all the way to complex long-chain hydrocarbons.

All one has to do is go to the Water Department website, open the operational reports and see that the quality of water coming out of the AWPF is practically that of distilled water. The time for “public debate” is long past, and it’s now time to move the AWPF from the pilot stage to the full-scale production stage. — Dale S. Duffala, CHMM

• La Jollans: Quit golfing from your yards! — It appears that a number of La Jolla residents love to golf, and don’t get enough tee time. Many have resorted to golfing from their homes. On Saturday, March 7, I had a worker installing solar panels on the roof, when a golf ball whizzed by, missing his head by a couple of inches. Another plopped onto the driveway 10 minutes later. While installing the panels, workers found six golf balls in my gutters.

Over the past year, we have found at least a dozen in the yard and driveway. I walked around the neighborhood and found that no one knew who the culprit was, but two different neighbors told me that they had the same problem a few years ago. Given their location, and the direction the balls came from, their golfers were not the same as mine. (Unless we have a roving golfer, who is teeing off from different spots around the neighborhood.)

This is a very dangerous thing. If a golf ball hits someone in the head, the victim will suffer a traumatic brain injury, and possibly die. I now have solar on my roof, but how long will the panels last with golf balls hitting them? I don’t think my warranty will cover that. There doesn’t seem to be any way of addressing this issue, other than walking around the neighborhood and hoping I find the culprit. So far, no one has ’fessed up. — Laura Colban

Dog-walkers truly need some manners — The problem with dogs leaving their excrement on public sidewalks is not restricted to the Village alone. We live on Cactus Way in a cul-de-sac off Soledad Mountain Road and have an almost daily deposition left behind on our sidewalk. In addition, some owners walk with their dogs unleashed and do not monitor their moment-by-moment activity. We are looking for a solution. — Heli Hofmann

• La Jolla Woman’s Club embarks on new social programs — The La Jolla Woman’s Club is expanding its offerings to members and the community. In connection with the La Jolla Woman’s Club Foundation, the inaugural “Women in Leadership” series will begin 5:30 p.m. Friday, April 3 with La Jollan and San Diego City Council President Sherri Lightner, who will speak about her path to leadership. The free program is open to the public at the club, 7791 Draper Ave. There will be hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar. Seating is limited. RSVP: (858) 454-2354 or e-mail:

In January, LJWC held its second networking program with more than 100 attendees. The speaker was Linked-in and digital media coach Tracie Hasse.

Other programs include first Monday luncheons for members; Silver Sage Yoga Wednesdays at 3 p.m. (open to the public); a Book Club at 5:30 p.m. first Wednesdays; Baby Massage by PshBabyMassage (; and Crafts & Cocktails, 5:30 p.m. May 21 (open to the public).

Contact Mithu Sherin for details on any of these events ( Cost for the first Monday lunches is $25 through reservation chair Michelle Dyskstra at (858) 551-5478 or — Sally Fuller

• Beaches could benefit from Big Belly receptacles — A friend passed along your article about overflowing trash cans in La Jolla. I recommend a solution: Big Belly. Waste goes in and doesn’t come out! — Jim Poss

• Overflowing trash cans are still a problem — At the foot of Sea Lane this week, I found garbage overflowing trash cans, broken beer bottles with glass in the sand, and trash blowing all over the beach. I saw a Park & Rec worker cleaning the horrible mess and I felt bad for him and thanked him. But nevertheless, we have a problem with partygoers who are clearly not respecting the beach alcohol ban. I propose that police come by more often! I know they increase their patrols in the summer, but this spring break week has been rough! Please publish the phone number for residents to request trash pickup. — Elizabeth Ashcroft

Editor’s Note: City Environmental Services can be reached at (858) 694-7000. The police non-emergency number is (619) 531-2000.

• Parking lot frenzy is human folly at best — I have a question about the people trying to drive, walk and park in the parking lot at the Whole Foods in La Jolla. What planet are they from? It seems no one there has any concept of reality outside the interior of their car or cell phone. A typical day finds people walking across the lot talking or texting, completely oblivious to other people or cars. I totally understand it’s critical not to miss a text, Facebook posting or call about what the cat wants for dinner, but perhaps they can pause for three seconds to look where they’re going.

And to the person texting in her car while blocking the “Keep Clear” intersection: Maybe you can stop sooner next time so the traffic trying to get in the lot does not get backed up onto Noble Drive?

Getting out of my car and walking to the store is only slightly less dangerous than attempting to walk across Interstate 5 in the dark. Really, person texting while I’m waiting to cross the crosswalk, can you slow down to less than 15 miles per hour, so I can run to the store entrance?

Backing out of a parking spot is like bumper cars at the carnival, with people remembering to look behind them as soon as they hear the screeching sound of metal on metal.

If I were a San Diego police officer, I would park right in front of the store as no one would see me and I could easily write tickets all day long. I’m pretty sure I would make my ticket bonus quota for the quarter in about 20 minutes and be ready to retire to Hawaii after a few days. As for me, I’m now a full time Amazon Prime shopper and the doctor told me my life expectancy has increased by 15 years. If you think I’m making this up, take a drive through the lot and see for yourself. — Paul Angelos

• WHAT’S ON YOUR MIND?Letters to the Editor for publication in La Jolla Light and should be 250 words or less, and sent by e-mail to and must include the full name of the sender, city of residence and phone number for verification. Note: The content of letters are not the opinions of La Jolla Light.