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Letters to the Editor: April 26, 2007

UCSD has a mini-dorm problem

I welcomed your story written by Travis Hunter on April 19th about the growing mini-dorm problem in San Diego. I want to tell you about two more mini-dorm situations that have recently sprouted up in La Jolla. One is on my street at 1011 Muirlands Vista Way. The landlord of this house has rented it out to about eight SDSU male students. Our street is experiencing problems with parking, trash, noise and other behavior typical of a college “frat house.” The other house is at 6526 Avenida Manana. This house has been converted to house a half dozen or more current SDSU students with similar problems for the neighborhood.

Our two streets have joined forces and have contacted the city, Scott Peters’ office, the media and printed fliers to post instructing neighbors who they can call about this unfortunate problem. 6526 Avenida Manana has been on the Channel 10 news recently.

We would appreciate if Travis or anyone would do a follow up story about these houses to further publicize the problem.Betsy KleneLa JollaActing to protect voting franchise is no gambleThe La Jolla Light opinion page April 19 stated the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) risks decertification for using new bylaws that are unapproved by the city. The bylaws are not the reason for the threat of decertification. Consider the letter from Jim Waring, the Mayor’s land development czar, to Tim Golba where Waring stated: “The March 1, 2007 election results must also be voided by the LJCPA on April 5."Voiding the elections is what Mr. Peters and Mr. Waring really want. The citizens at the April 5th meeting voted to have the LJCPA election results stand. The bylaws can be amended to suit the Mayor and Councilman Peters later, but the issue is who takes the Trustee seats now. A Memorandum of Law produced by the City Attorney’s office and dated April 4, 2007 explains in excruciating detail that the election results would not change under either set of bylaws and that the LJCPA trustee election was fair and held in good faith.
The La Jolla Light states that "… by operating under unapproved bylaws to be a foolish gamble – and the big losers could be the people of La Jolla.” Mr. Peters and Mr. Waring, in a fit of temper, may in fact be successfull in getting the LJCPA decertified. But La Jollans will still be able to troop down to the Planning Commission and the City Council meetings as usual and express their opinions.In addition, La Jollans can rest assured that a planning group will eventually be restored in La Jolla. The only question will be if the new planning group is dominated by the same old click of developers and architects, as Mr. Peters and Mr. Waring want, or if the public will finally get control of the community’s planning function.David LittleBird RockOppose motion to decertify La Jolla CPADear Council Members:I write to you out of concern over the proposed decertification of the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA). On April 24, this issue will come before the City Council as Item 331 on the agenda. I urge you to oppose the motion to decertify.Over the past two years, the citizens of La Jolla have fought tirelessly to wrest control over the development and planning of their neighborhoods from self-interested profiteers who aimed to over-build La Jolla without consideration for the well-being of the greater community. That fight included taking back community control of the LJCPA, which had been dominated by developers, architects and builders. The community’s voice had been silenced as a consequence of a lack of representation at the LJCPA, largely because of the use of onerous membership requirements, proxy voting, and procedural irregularities allowed by the association’s former bylaws. A change was needed.In response to this need for change, a sub-committee of the LJCPA was formed to review the bylaws and recommend changes. More than 20 LJCPA members came together to evaluate, deliberate, vet and debate new bylaw proposals, and after an enormous effort, reached consensus on a new set of bylaws. These new bylaws were then evaluated, deliberated, vetted and debated before the entirety of the association’s members, and were ultimately approved by the members, not once, but twice. These deliberations were done in a public forum, in accordance with the strictures set forth in the Brown Act, and were at all times attended by a representative of the City Attorney’s Office who regularly provided input and guidance when asked or needed. (It is worth mentioning that membership enrollment and attendance over the past two years have been at historic highs.)Now, La Jolla’s planning group wants to go forward under its new bylaws with the job of better planning for the well-being of this unique and historic beach-side community. However, while the City Attorney was twice attempting to get the City Council to calendar a hearing to approve the new bylaws, (for which the City Council apparently had no time), the City Council found time to calendar a motion to decertify the LJCPA. This is a drastic and unprecedented move that has the entire community stunned and upset. The implications of decertification are not only ominous for La Jolla, but for any community within San Diego which seeks to protect its quality of life.Community involvement in planning and development decisions should be encouraged, not punished. Please oppose decertification of the La Jolla Community Planning Association on April 24th.Joseph G. Dicksla jollaPerspective on La Jolla’s Parking IssueI have been involved with the La Jolla Parking issue for over 25 years having served at various times as both Promote La Jolla’s and the Town Council’s representative on the La Jolla Parking Committee and on other parking related groups and committees over the years. Over those 25-plus years, there has been a sporadically steady chorus of dire warnings about the parking situation in La Jolla. A few years ago, Councilman Peters encouraged the community to air its feelings on the parking issue in a series of community meetings. At that time it became clear that an overwhelming majority of La Jolla’s citizens did not want parking meters or their like in the Village for an assortment of reasons which included among others:

  1. Many people felt there really wasn’t a parking problem in La Jolla.
  2. If there was a parking problem at all it would easily be solved if employers would require that their employees park either in their respective business’s parking lots or in the parking structures around town instead of on the streets.
  3. There is very little “village” ambience left in La Jolla and any form of on-street paid parking would be a further urbanization of La Jolla and pretty much take care of what little charm we cling to.
  4. About 15 years ago, Promote La Jolla paid around $25,000 to an expert consulting group to do a study of how La Jolla’s business district could continue to compete. The study identified the La Jolla business district’s competition and made recommendations as to how to remain competitive with them. One of the recommendations was to keep our parking free as the malls all provided “free” parking and to charge for on-street parking would put the business district at a disadvantage.
  5. The city of San Diego has allowed La Jolla’s downtown area to become over-developed while not requiring that commensurate parking be provided and that’s why we have the situation we have today.
  6. Many people felt that the downtown area works fine the way it is. Businesses come and go and many of the locals don’t have much of a problem finding a place to park.

There was much talk at the time of constructing a new parking structure in town. Various locations have been looked at. None of these have come to fruition, but at the time of the Peters’ public meetings people did not seem to object to a new parking structure.There was so much opposition to paid on-street parking from the citizens of La Jolla that the subject was dropped.Now, with the appointment of the new Parking Advisory Board, the subject is, once again, raising its head. Scott Peters has made it clear that he thinks there is a parking problem and we need to do something about it.I have read the first chapter of Professor Shoup’s book and though his basic premises seem more that a bit shaky, he has been presented as the premier authority on La Jolla’s parking issue. Councilman Peters’ recent editorial states that the greenhouse gas problem is being exacerbated by the great number of cars searching for parking spaces. This cornerstone argument, that cars circle “endlessly,” vainly searching for that elusive parking space, is quite simply, not born out by the facts. The most recent survey of La Jolla’s downtown streets, covering Fay to Hershel including Girard and Wall Streets, found “no significant evidence of repeat cars circling the blocks."The 10-15 percent goal of open parking spaces seems strange to me. As an owner of a La Jolla business, I for one think that a goal of 100 percent of the parking spaces filled would be much more beneficial to La Jolla’s businesses. Of course, cars will come and go, and that’s pretty much how it works. What’s good about having 10-15 percent of the parking stalls empty? And how do you encourage those open spaces? By charging for on-street parking causing some of our customers to go somewhere else to shop?Whenever someone proposes paid on-street parking for La Jolla, they always seem to bring up some other town where they think parking meters are a boon to the businesses and citizens. Most recently, Professor Shoup used Pasadena and Westwood as examples of the benefits of parking meters. His findings seem largely debatable. I’ve taken a few notes on my travels around California and have found that Santa Barbara, Carmel, Monterey, Nevada City, Pacific Grove, Ventura, Ferndale and Eureka all have free on-street parking and similar village-like atmospheres and all seem to be doing better than fine (I’m sure there are others). In fact, don’t you think that La Jolla is lot more like Carmel than Pasadena or Westwood?Keith N. KelmanOwner, K. Nathan Gallery