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Letters to the Editor: March 22, 2007

Time to call out the Chancellor

Your “softball” superficial interview with (UCSD Chancellor) Ms. Fox told me very little but then again told me quite a bit.

This woman, with the connivance of Mr. Dynes, basically stole part of her exorbitant compensation from us taxpayers and only agreed to give the unearned at UCSD (approx.) $248,000 back at some date far into the future rather than returning it now. Yes, she’s paying interest on that but at a rate far below market rates of interest today.

Then we heard the usual bureaucratic educational sob story mantra that we need to pay professors more money to compete with the private institutions of higher learning whilst these ivy halls are saying the same about the public hallowed halls; in other words, we taxpayers are being whipsawed into paying these escalating salaries for professors who only work, ie. teach, three to six hours/week.

Next, we hear that she only uses vacation time for sitting on 10 corporate boards - think about that for a minute - does the math work? Assume her annual vacation is 30 days - 10 boards times 12 meetings/year equals 120 days or four times her vacation days, and this doesn’t include travel time to/from the East Coast boards nor the needed preparation time beforehand. Even if she used accrued sick days she still would not have the days necessary to cover those 120 days. This glaring discrepancy cries out for an explanation. Is she stepping down now per the directive to serve on only three boards? No, she’s waiting till the effective date of 12/31/07 before she resigns from seven of them ... that way she can line her pockets with the board compensation cash (another $300,000 +/- per annum) for almost another whole year.

Ms. Fox may be an above-average scientist. She’s also an above-average con artist with her fellow educational bureaucrats falling into lockstep right behind her to protect their own fat cat sinecures. Yikes.

Lou Cumming

La Jolla

Form Based Code doesn’t do its job

As a Bird Rock resident and architect, I was very hopeful the Form Based Code would be written to protect and preserve the qualities we love about Bird Rock. After studying the proposed code from an architect’s perspective, the community needs to be aware of its impact on Bird Rock.

The residents have always been concerned over the lack of parking. The FBC went the other direction in reducing the requirements by up to 50 percent. Only one parking space for a two-bedroom unit in the large developments on the corners is required where the current code requires 2.25 spaces. A shared use factor reduces the number again by 10 percent to 50 percent. That number is again reduced by the number of off-street parking spaces adjacent to the site. The overflow parking will reach further into the neighborhoods. A parking enforcement district is planned where we will have to pay for parking passes to park in front of our own residences. There will be further assessments for construction of new mid-street crossings.

The community said it did not want three stories. The FBC assigns three stories to some lots and two stories to others. If this gets approved, it could be argued that it is discriminatory. The two- story properties will be worth less. To make things fair, the city could then allow three-story buildings on all properties.

The creators of the FBC say it will make beautiful buildings. It will only make bigger and bulkier buildings. A row of wedding cakes will not make beautiful buildings. They say the third story is “hidden.” We all know what a three-story building looks like.

The current code or PDO was written to give Bird Rock a commercial district that is in scale with the single-family neighborhood that surrounds it. Bird Rock is not a civic center or a downtown by any stretch of the imagination. The PDO requires all buildings to be two stories or less and all parking must be provided on the site. If you can’t put all the parking on the site, you need to reduce the building size. Underground parking is expensive, and it is hard to get enough condos in two stories to pay back the developer for the parking garage costs. The current PDO was written to protect the neighborhood and provide small-scale commercial buildings to service the neighborhood, not massive condominium projects.

The BRCC was working to amend the current PDO and came up with several recommendations to make the PDO better. This was pushed aside by Scott Peters who financed FBC. It is clear the proposed FBC was written for the benefit of developers. I recommend we go back to the PDO and its amendments and reject the Form Based Code.

Elizabeth Gaenzle

Bird Rock