Letters to the Editor, Aug. 13: Lifeguard tower project is becoming a joke

This letter was also sent to the City of San Diego engineering department: Please tell me why the contractor is tearing up a newly constructed ramp at the still uncompleted lifeguard station project at La Jolla Cove? Why aren’t construction projects led with hard completion deadlines? Finish late, pay penalties. Finish early, get bonus.

This relatively small project is taking an unreasonable amount of time. Most of the time there are very few workers on the site. Today (Aug. 8) I only saw the one breaking up the new concrete ramp. Getting Saturday overtime?

What is the new expected completion date? What was the bid cost? What is the expected cost?

Larry McCracken

Solid reporting job on cell towers issue

Reporter Pat Sherman did a great job on the Aug. 6 article about the invasion of communication towers. While I am generally in favor of government legislation that promotes the public good, I’m afraid my NIMBYism is coming through on this issue. The whole thing seems like an end run. I wonder what our congressional delegation has to say?

Richard Wolf

Costs driving quick wireless installations

This is the first time I’ve ever sent a letter to the editor anywhere. But I saw the La Jolla Light article “Residents troubled by relaxed limits on cellular installations,” in a national wireless daily and had to respond. For background, I am Richard Edwards, president of CityScape Consultants, Boca Raton, a national government-only wireless facility consultant operating in our third decade. I know of few who do not want improved wireless facilities; but with moderation and especially void of any private industry dictating any pre-arranged control over virtually every citizen’s property or to have their voice heard.

The placement of wireless facilities is a complex science. The industry has been successful in getting what they want through lobbying, not to construct their facilities, but to construct them cheaply. That is the simple fact. There is little cooperation from the industry to work with communities to install infrastructure in a manner that is minimally offensive. The federal law (Middle Class Act) as stated here is greatly misinterpreted and relates only to existing support structures, not new structures. From my perspective, it appears the city administrators have taken lockstep exactly what the wireless industry wants communities to believe.

The federal law begins by stating: “The new law preserves local zoning authority, but clarifies when the exercise of local zoning authority may be preempted by the FCC.”

While in my experience I have seen the overwhelming number of government officials have a commitment to do what is right, in this case, I can only think someone stuck a ring through their nose and is leading them to the slaughter house.

Richard L. Edwards

Why the plant removal at WindanSea?

My husband and I often walk down to the beach at WindanSea. Sometime after January, we noticed that the shrubs and groundcover disappeared in front of “One Neptune Place,” perhaps around the time it began selling condos, leaving very unsightly stubble (and incidentally no cover for the ground squirrels and birds or anchor for the small bluff there). I’ve lived in the area for nearly 50 years and have never seen anything quite like it. I took a picture of the pruned area, which borders a storm drain, sort of a canal, at the bottom of Playa del Sur. I have an older picture from December 2013, showing the shrubs/trees on the north side of the storm drain (before construction began on the condo complex) for comparison. I wasn’t sure if the city had done the pruning — and if so, why?

Jo Kiernan

*Editor’s Note: Reporter Ashley Mackin contacted the office of District 1 City Councilmember Sherri Lightner, to learn that the Department of Park & Rec removed the trees and bushes in the area at the recommendation of the city’s park arborist. “Apparently, they were ‘cow itch’ bushes that can cause severe itching when they are trimmed, and several maintenance staff members had pretty severe reactions while maintaining them,” said Jennifer Kearns via e-mail, Lightner’s director of communications.

Added Tim Graham, senior public information officer with the city’s storm water department, “There are currently no plans to replace the vegetation due to a lack of irrigation available in that location. (Staff) may be looking to plant some drought-tolerant native plants in that area if there are favorable weather conditions in the future.”

Art museum expansion project conforms to code

Please correct the misconception promoted in your Aug. 6 issue. You stated that the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) project passed Proposition D but was slightly over 30-feet. Proposition D was the people’s referendum that limits structure height to 30 feet in the Coastal Zone. Proposition D does not allow heights over 30 feet — slightly or otherwise. “Slightly” is not defined in the San Diego municipal code. The good news is the project does conform to Proposition D. Not every possible case could be written on the voter’s referendum. The city added code indented to honor the intent of Proposition D. The Museum of Art project satisfies this code and so effectively conforms to the 30-foot height limit.

David Little

Help! What caused our leg welts after Natural Park walk?

On July 23, you described a walk in La Jolla Natural Park, which I took with my son last week. Shortly after returning home, we both found bright red, intensely itchy welts just below the sock line on both ankles, about 20 each. Research on the Internet points to chiggers, which I’ve never associated with this part of the world. Did anyone else doing the walk experience anything similar or can anyone else suggest a cause? The welts were a little blistery after a day, but not poison oak. Itchiness took four or five days to subside.

Because we think of La Jolla as mosquito-free, we do not use DEET when we walk, one of the blessings of living here. The walk was good and the views marvelous but when you suggest walks, please warn us if nature is going to be hostile and we will take precautions. Perhaps the thunderstorms brought more moisture to the area than normal and chiggers moved in?

Clare Friedman

Taco shop’s ‘yellow’ tone has a festive appeal

I was taken aback last Thursday evening to hear three members of the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) board complain about the color yellow painted as an accent on the smaller, west-side structure of the new Galaxy Taco restaurant in the Shores. The three said it was out of character with the unique quaintness of the community, and asked that the planning group consider weighing in on this issue.

I think the pop of color energetically highlights the architectural details of the structure while adding a festive personality to the neighborhood. After all, yellow is the color of optimism, enlightenment, creatively and, of course, margaritas. Do we really want 50 shades of tan dictating our community character? Let’s be a bit more open-minded and allow our new businesses to thrive and flourish.

Kim Whitney

Dog owners need to scoop the poop; it’s the law!

Municipal regulations require that dog walkers clean up the poop of their dogs — or face a hefty fine. Yet some owners disregard the rules. I’m sparing you a photo of what a group of boot camp exercisers found Monday morning (Aug. 10) near the entrance of the La Jolla Rec Center.

Perhaps the owner was not aware of the City of San Diego regulations. Perhaps the owner had forgotten to bring a plastic bag. Perhaps the owner did not care that dog poop spreads disease.

Perhaps the owner does not have children who play in the grass at the Rec Center. For whatever reason, leaving dog poop in a city park is illegal and unsanitary. City officials have been requested to place a sign to remind dog-walkers of their legal obligations:

San Diego Municipal Code (section §44.0304.1) notes that no person shall allow a dog in his/her custody to defecate or to urinate on public property … It shall be the duty of all persons having control of a dog to curb such dog in order to carry out the intent of this section. The failure to do so and to immediately remove any feces to a proper receptacle constitutes a violation of this section. Failure to do may be subject to a fine of $100,000.

Sue Rutledge

Why was my birthday card late?

On Aug. 5 I received a birthday card from Phoenix, Arizona postmarked July 7 — not as dramatic a failure as last week’s story about the letter delivered 38 years late, but come on Post Office, what gives?

Rima Singer

Light got San Salvador docking dates wrong

I’d like to make some clarifications to your short article in the July 30 issue about the launch of the 1542 replica ship San Salvador. Most importantly, the galleon was built in San Diego, across from the airport on North Harbor Drive. The ship was transferred onto a barge on July 22, which transported the galleon to Marine Group Boat Works in Chula Vista, where she was christened and launched (and will stay for further fitting-out.) The construction took more than 4.5 years and 50 percent of the workforce consisted of some 400 volunteers, several from out of state. The San Diego Community, including many prominent La Jollans and several organizations such as Las Patronas, gave substantial support for this historic project.

The 16th-century galleon will be moored at the Maritime Museum of San Diego and used for education, eventually retracing Cabrillo’s route north and recreating a history that has long been neglected. San Salvador will be in the Parade of Sail, Sept. 4, viewable from Shelter Island, Harbor Island, Embarcadero and the city front, and then on view at the Maritime Museum for the Labor Day Weekend Festival of Sail, Sept. 5-7. Thank you for anything you can do clarify that the ship did not arrive in San Diego on July 22.

Neva Sullaway, Maritime Museum of San Diego

More fun with curb stencil anomalies

In response to Ralph Allen’s letter to the editor Aug. 6, on curb stencil anomalies, I see your six examples and raise you one: Rosmont Ave (Rosemont St) on the southwest corner of Rosemont and La Jolla Boulevard is the latest one I’ve found. Stay tuned for more and, on a positive note, it looks like the city has decided to preserve old street names, contractor names and dates, as well as property markers, when they do updates to sidewalks. This is evidenced by the white markings at various corners scheduled for ADA-access ramps on Draper Avenue. Let’s hope they do!

Rita Alanis