Parks & Beaches board reviews La Jolla issues with mayor’s rep

By Ashley Mackin

At the June 23 La Jolla Parks and Beaches (LJPB) meeting, board members were visited by San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s District 1 representative Francis Barraza.

They used the opportunity to explain their position on community issues and find out where the mayor stands on those same issues. Additionally, LJPB Chair Dan Allen provided Barraza with a list of projects on their radar, and the one issue they seem to face when trying to get them done.

Barraza, who said she would attend the meetings whenever possible (likely quarterly), told the group, “We are not always going to agree, I won’t promise you that, but you will have a clear answer as to where the mayor stands on these issues.”

Allen explained to her that LJPB opposes — by majority, but not unanimity — the

seasonal closure of Children’s Pool

, and instead, favors it being open for shared use, and would like to see the

ramp at Children’s Pool

restored to its “historic functionality,” extending down to the sand.

Regarding the

stench at the La Jolla Cove,

presumed to be caused by sea lion and bird waste, Allen joked that LJPB was “ahead of the curve” in suggesting the fence deterring humans from accessing the cliffs be removed to restore public access, and a gate installed.

LJPB member Bill Robbins said, “We are not done with the Cove and with the stench. The opening has helped, but those animals are getting very used to humans and we would like to find a way to get them off the rocks in a way that’s allowed under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. It’s going to take more than that gate to get those animals under control.”

Among the dozen issues discussed, the board also affirmed their opposition to the

proposed DecoBike bike-share stations

within their purview; requested a feasibility study for

parking near Coast Walk Trail

; and asked that the

Fay Avenue Bike Path

be designated as open space.

The board also expressed its frustration over assessments and fees with community projects; case in point: the WindanSea S-Curve project, with plans to replace the fencing along Neptune Place and fill in gaps between the sidewalk and the hillside.

“This is one of those projects where we thought we had enough money based on estimates from a contractor, but we got whacked with the requirement that we go through an engineering review (at an additional cost),” Allen said. “It has got us in this cranky position of having generous donors, who we praise and thank, and having to go back to them and say ‘the city needs more.’ ”

The Children’s Pool Walk beautification project and the North Comfort Station at La Jolla Shores were presented with a similar situation.

At the June 16 Meet the Mayor event in La Jolla, Faulconer said he would look into what could be done to minimize fees on community projects, a position Barraza reiterated. With information in hand, Barraza explained what she would do to determine the mayor’s response.

“My process is, I do some investigating and talk to Councilmember Sherri Lightner’s office, since they are usually aware of the issue and have done some legwork, and see what their position is. We work very closely with them and tend to defer to them, but we won’t always agree on an issue,” she said.

Additionally, “I try to find which staff members at the city have been working on it ... to see what they have done and seek their professional opinion.”

From there she confers with the mayor’s policy team to verify his stance on the issue. Taking the information available from other offices and the position of the mayor’s office into consideration, she submits a suggested course of action or statement.

“We try to come back with an answer (based on all that) which reflects what the mayor’s stand is and what the steps would be to move forward,” she said. “There are a lot of people working on all these issues that we have to go through, and that takes time. If you feel as though you are not getting responses back ... that’s why.”

Parks and Beaches next meets 4 p.m. Monday, July 28 at the La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.