Letters to the Editor: May 8, 2008

Innovation or degradation?

Some of the few remaining parking meter advocates are fond of referring to those who don’t want meters in La Jolla as being opposed to “progress,” or against anything “new” which might make La Jolla “better.”

It might be fun, it might even be instructive, to look at some of the previous occasions for this kind of epithet-hurling over the past few decades. (I haven’t done any research. I may be a little off on dates. I may have omitted some. But all occurred).

Airport for La Jolla. In the late ‘40s, early ‘50s it was argued that La Jolla could not prosper, could not be attractive to world travelers, unless we had an airport. (A then player in the hospitality industry, who owned an airplane, was one proponent). One idea: on the mesa above La Jolla Shores.

Coast Boulevard as a through street. City plans and subdivision maps dating from the ‘30s, and in effect until the ‘50s and ‘60s, showed Coast Boulevard as a fully functioning multi-lane street to leave Torrey Pines Road where Coast Walk is now and to pave the cliff tops around the corner to where the Cave Store exists.

Torrey Pines Road widening. ‘50s. Torrey Pines Road had been a narrow two-lane road into La Jolla. Plans to widen it to what it is now were hugely controversial. In those pre-CEQA days, the pro-roadway people prevailed. Was it good or bad for La Jolla? Your call.

Revolving tower. You almost had to be here then to believe this one. Some people had plans prepared, renderings and even some mechanical drawings, for a multi-story cylindrical residential tower on top of Mount Soledad, designed to rotate 360 degrees (I forget how fast it was to spin - maybe once a day). Pictures in the La Jolla Light, and a lot of conversation. The proponents didn’t develop a lot of traction, and called our community “unsophisticated.”

High-rise buildings on Prospect. ‘60s. Three or four, perhaps more, residential towers, each around 20 stories or more in height, were proposed for Prospect Street. Excavations had actually been dug for some of them. For various reasons, the developers fell on economic hard times, and this episode led to the anti-high rise movement in La Jolla, and the 30-foot height limitation. Very regressive, according to those who favored anything “innovative.”

Girard Ave. mall. Mid-'70s, as I recall. The proposal was to make downtown La Jolla more like a shopping mall and keep cars out of the two main blocks of Girard. Temporary fences and bails of hay were used to accomplish this. Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Many local planners had gone on trips to Santa Monica, Fresno and elsewhere, to learn what great things malls are (sort of like parking meters in Aspen). The experiment was supposed to last two weeks. After about three days, the downtown business owners openly revolted and demanded that they get their street back.

The “Dip.” About every 10 or 12 years, somebody gets the idea of turning the property under the inland side of Prospect into a parking garage, and/or an underground shopping mall. It has never had any local traction, financial or otherwise, but the idea keeps recurring, and to be opposed to it is to subject oneself to “anti-progress” cackling.

Parking under the Community Center. 1980s, I think. A lot of time and money were spent designing and advocating this. Then a lot of controversy. Didn’t happen.

Which of these innovations do you, with the benefit of 20-20 hindsight, now believe would have resulted in a finer La Jolla?

I’ve undoubtedly forgotten some others. The message is, I suppose, that while there are a lot of people who want to “make Jolla better,” there are a lot more who want to keep it better.

Karl Zobel, La Jolla

Work together La Jolla

Inspired by the May 1st editorial and perhaps by my wife’s profession, I thought I would try some kindergarten logic on the parking issue. Hmm, having three seats on a nine-member board. Doesn’t it take five seats for a group to railroad their ideas? Isn’t three less than five? Does any child want to take bad tasting medicine? Of course not. The question is whether the child needs the medicine. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to a complete diagnosis and prescription, but then again maybe the child wasn’t so sick after all.

We teach children teambuilding by letting them play together. But when playtime turns to name calling and bullying, they have to be separated. If not caught in time, it can escalate into an ugly fight, with the rest of the kids caught up in a twisted sort of way egging on the battle. Soon the fight is stopped and everyone is put in timeout. But what about those of us who can play nice? Does everyone have to be punished because of the behavior of a few? Despite the rhetoric, this has never been about paid parking, or the board or the parking district. This has always been about whether La Jollans can come together for the common good. Sometime it feels like the answer is always no. Do we only have the energy to argue, or can we find the resolve and the courage to roll up our sleeves, find compromise and consensus, and implement solutions? Come on La Jolla, let’s get back to work.

Joe LaCava, La Jolla

Pool concerns

It would appear that court decisions on various items do not attract respect and acceptance any more; is this a sign of the times? The dictate to return the Children’s Pool to its original condition was made after careful deliberation and research by the judge and those involved, and why cannot the decision be upheld? Emotion is not a criterion that makes for good judgement - the need to be “right” and the opposition “wrong” is based on emotion, and we have enough of that in politics and its various issues - wars have been known to be founded on such emotion.

I have nothing against the pinipeds, they are a friendly bunch; why, then, can’t those opposed to the dictate be friendly and accept the decision of the courts, and MOVE ON to other more pending matters?

My children have loved the pool since they were toddlers and used to explore the shore and environs for shallow rock creatures in the tide-pools. That was over 40 years ago, now their children could enjoy the same excitement.

My father, brother and sister were all attorneys, and a decision made by a judge was not easy, but was upheld unless there was substantial evidence to call for an appeal.

Is this the case, or merely a group determined to change the law?

Portia S. Wadsworth, La Jolla

I was wondering if I am the only individual that wonders why we don’t drive the seals away from Children’s pool. Is this a rare shark attack or just the beginning of a new reality ready to hit the shores of La Jolla.

It is pupping season and the seals are great white sharks’ number one food source. It saddens me that David Martin might have not lost his life except for wacko environmentalists that don’t even live in La Jolla. Just tune into a city council meeting and see these seal activists start crying because of the impact a bunch of smelly seals have upon their disturbed psyche. Has anyone but me noticed?

The La Jolla cove stinks!

I will concluded my e-mail with a quote from a woman who definitely was a tree hugger being interviewed on a local news channel. The day David Martin dies, a freakish woman with a huge smile say’s to the camera ... “We have to remember the ocean is the sharks’ environment, we are just visitors.”

I am so sick of these Green-peace wack jobs (who are in the minority) dictating to the majority of La Jollan’s what the beach rules are and how we are supposed to view sharks and seals.

Bob Schulte, La Jolla

(Learned to swim at Children’s Pool)