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Letters to the Editor: December 13, 2007

Pro-paid parking arguments taking strange turn

The arguments presented in favor of paid parking at the La Jolla Community Planning Board meetings are getting more and more bizarre. As each argument fails the reality test, another is pulled from the hat. In spite of their desperate attempt to force paid parking in La Jolla at any cost, the proponents are losing.

First the argument was that paid parking would improve parking access. That didn’t fly. Then they claimed that it would be a financial bonanza. That didn’t fly either. Now it’s down to “voluntary block-by-block opt-in throughout zone or opt-in/opt-out plan.” They must be kidding!

Don’t be fooled by the double talk. Our streets should NOT be privatized en mass or piece by piece. Enough is enough.

Tanja Winter

La Jolla

Who owns La Jolla?

I’ve only lived here for 15 years, but frankly I can’t understand why some special-interest groups seem to think we have a real parking problem.
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I frequently drive to the Prospect/Girard area and rarely spend more than a few minutes before I can find a one- or two-hour spot. This gives me enough time to do most of what I need to do and, of course, at other times I may be using the parking facilities available from some of our merchants, when I shop there. The supposed revenue to be gained from parking will probably never materialize as much of a benefit for La Jolla.

I see no reason to believe that paid parking will benefit any resident, and I know of no La Jolla homeowners who are are in favor of paid parking. Are we going to let special-interest groups decide how La Jolla is run, or is it time that the residents speak up and make it known that we do not want to change our current parking situation, as it will not improve and we will simply be waiting in line to retrieve our cars from parking garages or valets?

Maybe it’s time we vote out the people who do not do what the residents really want and care about. Who is it that’s voting in favor of this and why? The La Jolla Community Parking District Advisory Board, the La Jolla Town Council and our elected officials are supposed to represent us!

On another note, our biggest-evolving problem at the moment is the increasing number of homeless which is making it uncomfortable for us to walk our streets. They take over benches and gather in groups, creating a difficult atmosphere. Many are homeless by choice and many aren’t homeless at all, but get on the bus, or get picked up by van, at the end of the day to go to their own communities. This issue needs to be addressed, not parking.

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Barry Levine

La Jolla

Do controlled burn of San Clemente Canyon

Surely we citizens should be demanding a controlled burn of San Clemente Canyon at the earliest favorable weather conditions. Quoting from your article, “La Jolla firefighters share tales from the front lines,” (1 Nov., page 5) Captain Robert Lang said " . . . with San Clemente Canyon going right up and over Mount Soledad, and the Muirlands, there’s a lot of fire potential up here. The Cedar fire stopped just as it was getting into San Clemente Canyon off the 52 - it would go right to the ocean.”

Firefighter Tim Parker said of the Canyon, “It’s never burned, so if it did, it would go off like a bomb.” Captain Bob Bilz said, " . . . with those winds, you could have had a house fire here or in PB, and if houses are close together, you’d have all these houses on fire.”

Please, before this happens, let’s insist that our governments take preventive action to avoid the catastrophe that is predictable.

Alan Campbell

Pacific Beach

Mayor, honor courts’ decision on Children’s Pool

Dear Mr. Mayor:

You were cited this year and last stating the city would adhere to the court decision on Children’s Pool. Your office maintained you did not go against your word because it was the City Attorney who petitioned the state Supreme Court on the O’Sullivan case, without consulting any city officials.

Now that that is behind us, direct leadership is needed now to fulfill the faith of the voters, and address the matter now without allowing more pointless delays and wasted city resources on a hopeless Aguirre crusade.

But wait! What of the seals?

You know, anybody who cared about the seals as wild animals would want them to be relocated as soon as possible in new haunts of their choosing, far from people.

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The city was prepared to carry out the restoration of Children’s Pool in 2004, and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration advised the city then, (Jim McInnis, Long Beach) that it could proceed to remove the seals without any requirement for permits. It was requested however, that if the work might last into pupping season (January to mid-April) that the seals be sent packing by November.

That request can still be honored if action is taken now, and more controversy avoided, and more city resources not be wasted. Let the children have the Pool, as mandated by the courts and let the seals be free to be wild. And the exploitatin of seals as display animals by luring them onto a metropolitan beach, and let the people of San Diego enjoy the gift Ms. Scripps so carefully gave them.

The estimate in 2004 was the sand removal would take three weeks.

John Leek

La Jolla

If you could talk to the animals

Now that the courts have decided the fate of the seals at Children’s Pool, has anyone talked to the seals?

The State Supreme Court let stand a lower court decison to dredge Children’s Pool restoring it to its original 1941 configuration ... to be a pool for children. The effect of the dredging, estimated at half a million dollars, will only be to move the beach a ‘tad’ to the south, but there will still be a beach. And, the seals that have been coming to the beach for years will gladly swim the extra yards to get to the same, though newly dredged, beach. What then?

The beach will be smaller and will be even more crowded with seals and children. Will we then beat the seals over the head to drive them away? Why not do that now and save a half a million?

While the lawyers have been arguing the niceties of the law, the real world has been changing and the seals have moved in. It would be a wondrous sign to see the judges in their court robes explaining to the seals why they must go. Seals, are you ready to listen? I didn’t think so!

Art Cooley

La Jolla

Courts decision on seals is wrong

The Appelate Court’s decision in favor of dredging Children’s Pool Beach is wrong on at least three counts.
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First: Ruling “for the children” ignores the fact that children prefer watching the seals. This includes a classroom pool of more than 1,000 La Jolla elementary school children that found a 9:1 majority against dredging (among adults, it’s 8:2, Zogby International). Seals versus humans is a false dichotomy.

Second: Legal precedent exists for reinterpreting Ellen Browning Scripps’ gifts. When Scripps Memorial Hospital moved from La Jolla to its current location in University City in 1964, a Superior Court Judge ruled that the move did not violate the spirit of Ms. Scripps’ stipulation that her gift be used to support a hospital “in La Jolla.”

Third: Imagine this deliberately provocative analogy (the background history is true): It’s 1880, and dog fighting - formerly a popular, universally legal sport in the US - is now illegal in many states. The United Kennel Club is still promoting dog fights, and Mr. X, a respected member of the club and dogfighting enthusiast living where it is still legal, leaves a large sum of money to his city for construction of an arena where chidlren can be introduced to dogfighting in a family friendly environment (no drinking or spitting, etc.) Fast-forward to 1965, and though dogfighting is still legal, it is becoming very unpopular. The leaders of our hypothetical city would like to re-purpose the arena as a Little League baseball field, but doing so would clearly violate the terms of Mr. X’s will.

Swimming is far from dogfighting but times do change. In 1931, wildlife viewing was barely recognized as “recreational.” By 1996 about 30 percent of American adults engaged in wildlife-watching activities and about 24 million people traveled for the primary purpose of wildlife-watching recreation spending about $9.4 billion). Ms. Scripps stipulated that Children’s Pool Beach be used for “recreational purposes and as a public park and swimming area for children.” Modifying this to “recreational purposes and as a public park enjoyed by children” seems in substantial conformance to her wishes.

Jim Moore

La Jolla