LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: What’s going on at the La Jolla Biltmore Motel?


Editor’s Note: Several Bird Rock residents called La Jolla Light last week to learn what’s happening at the La Jolla Biltmore Motel. Reporter Ashley Mackin found out that with a change in management at the motel comes a renovation and some “TLC.”

Dave Patel, part of the new management company (an LLC so new it did not have a name at the time of our interview), said work is underway to upgrade the facility at 5385 La Jolla Blvd. in Bird Rock. Carpets are being changed, the interior and exterior will be repainted, new flooring is being installed and electronic equipment is being upgraded.

“Hopefully by the end of this month, it will look very different from how it has,” Patel said. “It’s a nice location, being close to the ocean. The whole idea was to make it a uniform property (similar to surrounding properties) and keep it from being an eyesore.”

Patel added that he hoped the renovation would help boost the motel’s image in the community, which has been tarnished after years of reported crime activity, including two shootings within five months in 2014.

Why are street cones clogging La Jolla Blvd.?

Why is the Hilton Express on La Jolla Boulevard allowed to permanently close one lane of traffic? There has been no street work for months. In fact, the whole construction project looks moribund. Yes, every day there are cones and signs diverting north bound traffic. This has been going on for months while the blocked off lane is in perfectly good condition.

Sharon Rearwin

Editor’s Note: The series of traffic cones lining La Jolla Boulevard in front of the Holiday Inn Express were removed Friday, July 17 on the city’s order. The cones, and the new lane of traffic they created, were to accommodate work on the storm-drain system as part of the hotel expansion to add 17 new suites.

City public information officer Scott Robinson said the hotel needed to have its storm-drain connected to the city system. However, the connection did not work, and construction was paused so the problem could be fixed and a new plan developed. Unfortunately, the cones remained. The permit that allowed the hotel to work in the public right-of-way expired before a new plan could be developed.

When a new plan is developed, hotel representation will need to apply for a new permit with the city to resume the work. It’s unknown when that will occur.

Don’t miss a single note of Friday’s jazz night at the La Jolla Community Center

Iconic pianist Mike Garson again played at the La Jolla Community Center’s Fourth Friday Jazz Series concert, June 26, which featured Lori Bell on alto and tenor flutes, and Ron Satterfield on “way far out” guitar and vocals.

Said David Bowie of his decades-long collaboration with Garson: “It is pointless to talk about his ability as a pianist. He is exceptional. However, there are very, very few musicians, let alone pianists, who naturally understand the movement and free thinking necessary to hurl themselves into experimental or traditional areas of music, sometimes, ironically, at the same time. Mike does this with such enthusiasm that it makes my heart glad just to be in the same room with him.”

Bell is the Community Center’s resident musician, producing many of the Fourth Friday concerts. She is a Global Music Award-winning artist in her own right, attracting the nation’s top professional bassists (including La Jolla’s own Rob Thorsen), guitarists and pianists.

Garson is in another world. At one point during the June 26 concert, Bell looked somewhat fearfully at him during the introductory measures of one of his compositions, and he said to her “Don’t worry, I won’t let you fall.” Talk about improvisation!

The Friday, July 24 concert will feature the prodigious Danny Green on piano, with Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Curtis Taylor. The music starts at 8 p.m., a reception takes place at 7 p.m. If this were L.A. or New York, the ticket price would be more than five times the modest $18-23 advance reservation; $20-25 at the door, 6811 La Jolla Blvd. Community Center membership is just $120 a year and includes daily free and reduced-cost programs, day trips and events! More details at or (858) 459-0831.

Glen Rasmussen

Leave parade name as it is

I find a bit bizarre, Howard Singer’s contention that La Jolla’s long-time traditional Christmas parade should be replaced by one inclusive of Jews, atheists and other non-Christian attendees. By his logic, should the Gay Pride Parade welcome straights championing their heterosexuality, and should the St. Patrick’s Day Parade include Germans, Italians etc., all celebrating their ethnicity?

Why not just stay home, Howard?

Carol Reilly

Law and the parade name

I normally just glance at your paper to see all the photographs of beautiful people in beautiful La Jolla. So when I saw the one of the man (Howard Singer) posing with his Confederate Flag, in the July 16 La Jolla Light issue (in regard to changing the name of the La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival), I wondered if the KKK had resurfaced in La Jolla?

I understand free speech rights and the ACLU and all the liberal gobbledygook, but a line has to be drawn somewhere. Use the example of the line drawn at the Children’s Pool to keep those insatiable kids from usurping the land grant to the seals and you can understand what I mean.

I am open to any suggestions that comport with the law.

Jim Weaver

No connection between Christmas parade and slavery

How does Howard Singer dare to conclude that the use of the word “Christmas” is a symbol of slavery (Singer holding the Confederate flag during a town council meeting in the July 16 La Jolla Light issue). This is patently offensive and completely ridiculous. It seems that he is anti-Christian, and thus guilty of the same kinds of prejudice for which he blames the foundation and La Jollans in general. He appears to be a man full of contradictions:

If he chooses to feel excluded from or offended by a celebration that is based on peace, love and joy, that is his decision alone and he can blame nobody else.

Dale S. Duffala

Backpacking trek is high adventure for Troop 506

Nine Boy Scouts and three adult advisors from Troop 506 completed a 12-day, 107-mile, high adventure backpacking trek through Philmont Scout Ranch, June 20-July 3. Philmont Scout Ranch is the world’s largest youth camp with more than 200,000 acres of beautiful backcountry to explore. It is located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Historic Cimarron, New Mexico in the southern Rocky Mountains. Some 22,000 youths visit Philmont annually. Along their way, the Scouts participated in many activities including team-building exercises, shooting sports, conservation projects, blacksmithing, burro packing, and historical reenactments. They also climbed Mount Baldy, the highest peak at Philmont at 12,441 feet.

Troop 506 is a High Adventure Troop chartered by the La Jolla United Methodist Church. Troop 506 is open to all boys, ages 11-18. For more information about the troop or contact Scoutmaster Jacques Naviaux at

Philippe Naviaux

Troop 506 Historian

Will you be at the pancake breakfast and Rec Center Centennial July 25?

I hope everyone had an enjoyable and safe Independence Day celebration. As with every July since 1964, the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla is having a pancake breakfast at the end of the month at the La Jolla Recreation Center — this year on July 25.

Organized, staffed and produced by Kiwanis, the pancakes, sausages and entertainment will be served up by our members and volunteers to children ages 10 and under, free of charge! Tickets for “children” age 11 and older are $10 per person. Come join us for breakfast!

This is a special year as it marks the Rec Center’s 100th anniversary and there will be a Centennial Party after breakfast from noon to 3 p.m. There will be music, face-painters, a petting zoo and many more entertainments. The folks from the Rec Center will serve hot dogs, free to all!

Please e-mail Nicole Rawson at or Anita Hansen at if you wish to volunteer with the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla.

To find out more about the Kiwanis Club of La Jolla, look for our special pullout section in the La Jolla Light on Aug. 20. Inside, you’ll read about our 90-year history of community service and professional fellowship.

The Kiwanis meet every Friday for lunch at the First Presbyterian Church of La Jolla. Visit for more information.

Contact me to arrange a visit and be our guest at lunch! If you wish to join us in a more relaxed environment, don’t miss the Kiwanis Happy Hour Socials 5-7 p.m. second and fourth Tuesdays at Hennessey’s Tavern, 7811 Herschel Ave.

Henry Chiu

La Jolla doesn’t need two December parades

I’ve come to love a town that would not have let my grandparents buy a home. What enabled my immigrant grandparents to fulfill their American dream (in a far more inclusive community) was their small business. Like Warwick’s, it was passed down through the family. Also like Warwick’s, every decade the business has faced new challenges, including the Depression, several recessions, rising wholesale prices, suppliers going under, increases in taxes and regulations, as well as competition from chain stores, shopping malls, big box discounters, and finally, the Internet, which has made my brother discourage his children from carrying the legacy into a fourth generation.

Thus, I feel Nancy Warwick’s pain at an additional December parade on a deeply personal level. I’ll never forgot my father saying during one recession, “I lose money the minute I turn the lights on.”

For that reason, I appeal to Howard Singer and the San Diego County Diversity and Inclusiveness Group to drop the alternative parade. One day’s loss during a primary shopping season is a serious hit to a small business’ continued viability.

Please don’t make the lives of local business owners more difficult just to prove a symbolic point. Whatever we choose to call the holiday season or the parade that celebrates it, it is a time of year when we’re supposed to be thinking of people other than just ourselves.

Karen Heyman

Push still on for a faith-neutral parade name in La Jolla

I’m writing to elaborate on the article in the July 2 La Jolla Light issue, “Push for ‘inclusive’ alternative to Christmas Parade.” The San Diego County Diversity & Inclusiveness Group (SDCDIG), of which I am a member, is making every effort to comply with the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation advisory board’s request that businesses, places of worship, schools, etc., impacted by a parade date express their support or opposition for it.

SDCDIG organized and planned a separate parade for the week following the La Jolla Christmas Parade after many years of denials to change the parade name to one that is faith-neutral. Some argue that the Dec. 6, 2015 La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival has a long history in La Jolla and why not continue with tradition?

But from the perspective of SDCDIG, some traditions are damaging to a cultural, religious or ethnic group. A recent example would be the tradition of flying the Confederate flag in southern communities. La Jolla had a history of excluding foreign nationals, Jews and African Americans from owning property in the Village and continuing with a “Christmas” parade serves as a reminder of that time. Isn’t it time La Jolla be sensitive to all groups of people regardless of their religion or non-religion to celebrate a holiday parade?

Linda Wenger

Village trash patrol chief issues a request

With summer arriving and tourism increasing, I want to share a Village suggestion: Please do not overfill trash cans and dumpsters to the point that the lids do not close because seagulls will forage through the trash in search of food and make a mess. (See photo above.)

I’ve now picked up trash and cigarette butts for more than four months straight — seven days a week, starting at 6 a.m. I’ve increased my work starting at Prospect Street and Faye Avenue to Prospect and the Cove. I walk down Jenner Avenue, both sides, and end up at Pearl Street and La Jolla Boulevard, and the streets in between.

I’ve met some wonderful people I call friends and that’s what makes what I do so rewarding. I want to thank Mitch and Katy from Mitch’s Surf Shop, Sean from El Pescador, Peter from Brick & Bell, Terry Underwood, Nancy Warwick and Richard Walker for their generosity and taking time to talk with me.

Hopefully, soon, I too, will become a merchant in this beautiful Village with a catchy restaurant idea. If it becomes a reality, I will continue my route every morning because I believe a cleaner Village is a happier one. I’d also like to thank the people who say “thank you” and “hello” every day. Contact me with any concerns at or (858) 230-4916.

Jeffrey Gerwin

Help for homeless should include all

I would like to comment on the fact that three women decided to take up the cause for funding Shauna, which I think is very admirable. But why are they not taking up the cause of all of the homeless people who are on the streets begging for food, clothing and a place to sleep. I’ve been in La Jolla for 40 years and have seen countless homeless men and women come and go. I’ve reached out to them all the time to give them what I could. Why are these people not funded? They have a spirit and a soul, too, but I guess because they are not flamboyant there is no fund for them. So sad!

Fran Sheinbein

Seeking support for redwoods protection

Thanks to early conservation efforts, vast areas of prehistoric redwoods have been protected from logging where they survive in our State despite generations of an industrial economy. These redwood forests are now under threat and help is needed if we want these ancient trees to continue into the future.

Poachers are encroaching into protected government and private land to steal the burls from these trees. By removing their protective layers of bark, these ancient redwoods lay exposed to disease and pests killing them quickly over time. The burls are sold to lumber mills or craftsmen and this beautiful decorative wood is ultimately used to create high-end consumer goods. With the small number of rangers available to patrol the vast acreage of the forest, the risk of getting caught is limited. Worse yet, if convicted, current penalties could be easily incorporated into the cost of doing business with minimal impact on the profitability of this enterprise.

The California Federation of Women’s Clubs is asking for support of California Senate Bill 288, which increases penalties of burl poaching to include up to one year of imprisonment and imposes stiff fines on poachers in the hopes of making those who would kill our redwoods think twice before seeking this avenue for enrichment. While this does not resolve the problem of catching poachers, it will reduce the spin of the courtroom doors for those convicted of this offense.

We ask that Californians contact their State Assembly representative to stand with the California Federation of Women’s Clubs to protect our redwoods by passing Senate Bill 288.

Jennifer Nickel

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: Content of letters are not the opinions of La Jolla Light.