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Lightner updates La Jolla planning group on her activities

First District Councilwoman Sherri Lightner held an informal question-and-answer session at the La Jolla Community Planning Association’s Jan. 7 meeting.

“I’m delighted to be your employee,” she said. “I hope you continue to treat me in that fashion. Thank you for the opportunity to work for you.”

She said she had hoped to be at the CPA meeting in December, but was unable to attend because of the budget crisis that was taking time and attention.

She discussed her recent staff reorganization, saying she has decided to go without hiring a chief of staff because “I have eight employees and I’m perfectly capable of managing that many people.”

Talking of major concerns the City Council is dealing with right now, Lightner said one of the main ones is the state balancing their budget “on the backs” of local communities.

“That has had a profound effect both on the city budget and the transit system,” she said, noting the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) has been forced to cut routes and increase fares three times in three years. Additional route cuts were also announced for Sundays.

Asked by the audience what’s happened to federal stimulus funds for Torrey Pines Road Corridor improvements, Lightner replied: “They’re still coming. “That $500,000 hasn’t evaporated, just not been received as of yet.”

Queried about the future fate of harbor seals at La Jolla’s Children’s Pool, Lighter said the issue would be placed on a City Council subcommittee agenda soon.

“Action will be taken at some point at the Natural Resources & Culture Committee which I serve on,” she said. “We’re going to try and do this in a very rational way.”

Addressing a question about code compliance issues, Lightner noted city staff has been cut once again in that area. “We’ve been told neighborhood code compliance will be coming out with a new prioritization plan once they know what their staffing levels are for this year,” she said. “If you have specific concerns send them to us (my office).”

Lighter added discussion is ensuing about doing something to correct dilapidated fencing near the “Taj Mahal” home on Torrey Pines Road.

She also encouraged constituents in her district to take advantage of photovoltaic and other energy-efficiency improvements being offered as tax incentives on homeowners’ property tax bills.

The ordinance is scheduled to go to te council on Jan. 25. Then the contracts have to be written, etc. she noted.

“The Mayor’s office believes it will likely be June before the program officially launches, and people should be able to put their names on a waiting list in approximately March to sign up for the program. We’ll keep you updated on this as the program moves forward.”