La Jolla Shores Association continues its push for a park ranger and beach improvements
By Pat ShermanThe La Jolla Shores Association (LJSA) is again requesting that city officials add a ranger on the beach and at Kellogg Park to monitor conditions that association members say have gotten out of control — from illegal parking and litter to loud ice cream truck music and overuse of the area by unlicensed commercial operators.
Though the LJSA has been told that there is no funding for a park ranger, its board voted during a June 13 meeting to send a letter to District 1 City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner, as well as the city’s Park and Recreation and Lifeguard Services departments requesting they revisit the matter.
“Just take a stand,” LJSA member Charlie Williams said. “Sherri’s an elected official. She works for you.”
Asked by the
La Jolla Light to comment on the LJSA’s request, Lightner failed to respond.
Among the LJSA’s chief concern are: people camping out overnight in tents; ice cream trucks blaring loud music; the proliferation of scuba and kayak companies; and cars lining up illegally along Camino del Oro in front of Kellogg Park to load and unload items.
“In the old days police would cite people,” Williams said. “Now they’ve figured out there’s no police. ... Emergency vehicles try to come down there and they can’t get through. That whole road will just clog up at the end of the day.”
San Diego Police Officer Omar Sinclair, who attended the meeting,said residents can call San Diego Police’s non-emergency line to report such activity. Though there are eight officers assigned to beach communities in SDPD’s Northern Division, their primary duty is to respond to complaints and previously identified problems, Sinclair said.
“Unfortunately, that’s not parking,” Sinclair said. “We can’t tie up an officer for a parking-related issue.”
LJSA member Mary Coakley agreed that ice cream truck operators at the Shores, which have increased from one or two last year to four this year, are a problem for residents and merchants.
“Can you imagine listening to six hours of ‘It’s a Small World’?” she asked.
Coakley said the operators also wheel pushcarts through- out the park, which is not permitted. “It’s a problem for the merchants who are paying huge rents and trying to keep their heads above water, watching all these sales going on around the corner,” she said.
Amplified sound emanating from an ice cream truck must not be audible at a distance of 50 feet or greater.
“That would be something we’d have to evaluate, trying to balance the spirit of the law and the letter of the law,” Sinclair said.
With an average of more than 40,000 visitors every weekend from Memorial Day to the end of September, La Jolla Shores is one of San Diego’s busiest beaches.
“If you went to Petco Park to watch a Padres game (with about) 25,000 people you would never not see a policeman, a parking person or city services that were there on a regular basis to manage the crowds,” Williams said. “We have 40,000 people who come here every weekend and we have no crowd control and very little police presence.”
Lifeguard Lt. John Everhart said there are approximately 13 lifeguards stationed at La Jolla Shores on summer weekends, one of them being designated as an ambassador to monitor city-permitted kayak rental companies.
“I don’t know that the situation is any more dire than in previous summers,” Everhart said, though adding that lifeguards would welcome a ranger assigned to La Jolla Shores.
Though Everhart said lifeguards monitor the park for alcohol use, glass bottles, illegal tents, dog law infractions and other issues, their priority is activity in the water and west of the boardwalk.
“As we can, we focus on the things behind us,” he said. “I think city staff does a good job of keeping the balance and enforcing regulations. We work pretty closely with the police department. If we have egregious things happening — such as violence, theft or burglary — we will call the police.”
Residential Treatment FacilitiesOfficer Sinclair also addressed the issue of two for-profitdrug treatment facilities that have opened in University City, at 2821 Lange St. and 5497 Bloch St.
The company, Practical Recovery, plans to open more, Sinclair said, possibly west of Interstate 5.
“Residents are concerned, and rightly so,” he said.
Sinclair said there has been a proliferation of such treatment houses opening in other residential coastal areas like Salinas, Newport Beach and Huntington Beach.
Under the law, such facilities do not have to announce their arrival if they have less than seven residents.
“The magic number is six, and they just open shop,” Sinclair said. “Apparently this for-profit company is hitting a lot of coastal cities, and this is one of them.”
Sinclair suggested community members remain vigilant and report any suspected criminal or suspicious activity.
A group of residents has organized a website to address the issue,
LJSA Vacancies:The La Jolla Shores Association also an- nounced that it has four vacancies on its board of directors to fill. Persons interested may send an e-mail to LJSA.firstname.lastname@example.org