Readers take aim at La Jolla Light candidate endorsements for Nov. 6 election

I was dismayed to see the

La Jolla Light’s

editorial opposing our own Sherri Lightner who has been working in support of our neighborhoods while on the San Diego City Council and for years before that in community groups. It is a privilege and a great comfort to have a person of Sherri’s capacity, spirit and endurance fighting for us. I am proud to support Sherri Lightner with my total commitment and encourage you to vote for her for San Diego City Council. As to her opponent, who the Light has inexplicably endorsed, I must confess not knowing much about him which on reflection is the whole point as it has been Sherri, not he, who has been at our local community meetings all these years learning about our local needs and leading on City wide issues like assuring a future supply of water upon which both neighborhoods and the San Diego economy depend. The advantages I see in Sherri as our representative on the City Council is that she thinks deeply and widely with knowledge obtained from years of attentive listening.

—John Berol, La Jolla

I have to voice my concern over the

La Jolla Light’s

endorsement of Ray Ellis. I went to the Council 1 Debates, too. Council Woman Lightner addressed every question fully and on point, giving knowledgeable fact based answers. I came away completely impressed with her intimate knowledge of the entire District 1 and in City-wide matters. As for Ray Ellis, his answers lacked any substance that I could latch on to. I just never got a sense of any real connection let alone interest from Ellis in the District. I heard Mr. Ellis many times refer to his qualifications as serving on the Mayor appointed Pension Board, also that he was on the Board of the Balboa Park Conservancy. Quite honestly he sounded as though he was running for Mayor. For me I will be voting for Ms. Lightner. She connects with our community, The major reason for having each district represented is to give the individual communities a quantified voice at City Hall. Sherri Lightner is that perfectly qualified person for our Council District 1.

I respectfully disagree with your recommended endorsement and hope you see the error of your ways and vote for Sherri. Shame on you La Jolla Light for trying to divide your readership. —

Cindy Thorsen, La Jolla

La Jolla Light:

“Though Lightner promised to take our neighborhoods to city hall — and has done so — she left our neighborhood issues on the steps of city hall. Was the voice of La Jolla ever really heard downtown? “

The big problem that has occurred for particular developers is that Lightner HAS taken the neighborhoods downtown, up the steps and into the City offices of Development Services.

The evidence of this? Before Lightner, Tuesdays at City Council were not fondly known as “La Jolla Tuesdays.” Before Lightners election in 2008, the docket was littered with La Jolla projects that should have been addressed at lower levels and brought into compliance- at an ultimately higher cost to developers and community time and energy. Thinking that keeping projects as proposed without alteration, lasting it out and pressing forward to approval at City Council was a recipe that created this dysfunctional system. The community finally got fed up enough, that several projects were taken all the way to successful litigation. This system ultimately served no one. And if the community concerns has been addressed and rules had been applied earlier in the process it would have save time and money for everyone. Under Lightners tenure, the Council has taken more prudent steps with development and required EIR’s when needed among other things. And has likely resulted in fewer projects being brought forward that are challenging to the current zoning laws. Make no mistake that the big money opposition to Lightner has to do with the fact that she places so much importance on the community viewpoint and following the rules.

So it you want big money and big development to rule the day in La Jolla, then vote for her opponent- who has been endorsed by all the power brokers for big development- like the endorsement and campaign kickoff given by the Building Industry of America. Yes, her opponent has made coalitions that will matter to him- just not the ones that most people will find to be community friendly. Remember this bitter truth as you cast your ballot.

— Darcy Ashley, La Jolla

I was astounded by the


endorsement of Ray Ellis for City Council and Scott Peters for Congress. During her first term, Sherri Lightner has proven herself to be a person of the highest integrity, a knowledgeable and thoughtful Councilperson, and a strong and effective advocate for La Jolla and for all of the communities in District 1. Your main criticism of Ms. Lightner is that she brought community needs in such critical areas as roads, libraries, public safety, etc, to City Hall but could not get them addressed because of her inability to build coalitions and partnerships. Wrong! These problems are City-wide and are not unique to District 1. They could not be addressed more quickly because the City was broke (and technically still is). In addition to a bad economy, the City’s financial problems were made significantly worse by serious pension underfunding, now totaling over $2 billion and requiring about 25% of the general fund to make up the shortfall. This pension underfunding was approved by aScott Peters-led City Council. This is why I find your endorsement of Ray Ellis and Scott Peters so hard to understand. You appear to hold Sherri Lightner responsible for the consequences of the City being broke, a situation over which she had effectively no control, and then you turn around endorse the person importantly responsible for making a bad situation much, much worse. The logic escapes me.

— Jim Fitzgerald, La Jolla

I was disappointed and dismayed to see that my favorite newspaper endorsed Ray Ellis for City Council over Sherri Lightner. In Sherri’s own words, “I am a doer, not a speaker,” she summed up a major difference between the two candidates. Mr. Ellis is well spoken, one might say glib, whereas Sherri shines in what she does, not how well she presents herself in a debate. I have known Sherri for many years, long before she had political aspirations, and I know for a fact what a hard worker she is and how she champions the causes that affect her district and especially La Jolla. It will be a great loss to La Jolla and the rest of District 1 if Sherri Lightner is not returned to the City Council to carry further the great work she has begun there.

—ShirleyMae Davis, La Jolla

As a group we were both surprised and disappointed by your endorsement of Sherri Lightner’s opponent for the position she now holds on the San Diego City Council.

Surprised because Sherri Lightner has been, by all accounts, an outstanding representative for La Jolla, as measured by:

1. Her integrity

2. The results she has achieved for our community, among them:

Working to save the La Jolla Post office

Restoring lifeguards at Windansea

Initiating the largest ever street resurfacing project in the City …. 35 MILES already paved in District I

Increasing open hours at the Library

Increasing open hours at recreation centers

Effectively pushing to save over ONE BILLION DOLLARS in public funds via historic financial reforms to pensions and retiree healthcare

Playing a major role in creating a BUDGET SURPLUS ….. even when all else was headingsouth

Saving the fire pits at the beach

Saving the July 4th fireworks

Restoring lifeguards, police and firefighters to the City’s payroll

Restoring fire engines to depleted fire stations…. Do you remember when we did not have the necessary fire engines with which to fight a fire?

Sherri Lightner led the creation of the City’s first–ever policy for a sustainable and affordablewater supply. Probably more than anything else Sherri should be commended for this.

Having said all of that Ms. Lightner has also earned the thanks of all La Jollans for protecting the character of our neighborhoods as well as our open spaces. That is likely the most contentious of all the topics with which she deals but she does it without prejudice or favoritism. Recently she was vilified for her insistence that an overreaching developer have an Environmental Impact Report prepared on his project, but that is exactly what is needed in difficult cases in order to provide guidance to the San Diego City Council. In this particular case the Council agreed with Ms. Lightner in a 6 to 1 vote requiring an EIR.

You ask in your article: “Was the voice of La Jolla ever really heard downtown? We still have crumbling streets and sidewalks, water mains breaking, police and fire department vacancies, neglected palm trees falling over, antiquated lifeguard stands and traffic volumes at speeds whizzing out of control”

We asked ourselves: is this the town we live in?

Our answer was that it must be another place they are writing about or probably a different year.

If you have been to the Shores beach recently one sees new life guard stands being built, and, as far as water main breaks perhaps we are wrong but our collective recollection is that there was one this past year. Crumbling streets and sidewalks? Sherri Lightner’s office conducted a “pot hole roundup” that resulted in over 1,200 potholes being filled so far this year. As for traffic whizzing out of control, Sherri Lightner’s office paid for new traffic calming signals on Torrey Pines out of its own operating budget.Vacancies on the Police and Fire departments rolls? No doubt, but there would have been many more without Sherri, which likely is one reason why the Police, Fire Fighter’s and Lifeguards endorsed Ms. Lightner. Finally, palm trees falling over….. we would agree, well not falling over exactly, but not being maintained. One of our grouphas two tall palms in front of the house and are told they are too tall to safely maintain…. When the suggestion was made that they be cut down, they were told that they were a gift to La Jolla from Helen Browning Scripps …..and that is where it stands. We will figure it out …. It is not the biggest problem in the world.

In fact in our opinion none of the issues you raised comes even within a light year of being a big problem and certainly not near close enough to recommend someone else with ambitions but little record, for the job of being on the City Council. Nor are any of the issues you raised failings on the part of Sherri Lightner; in fact the opposite is true. Sherri Lightner has been a force for community safety and maintenance of community infrastructure on the City Council and we believe her reelection will only help preserve the unique character of her District.

Disappointed ….. for sure ….. We wondered, when Ms. Lightner’s opponent wants to move on to some other goal he may be chasing, what happens to La Jolla. ….. that town whose name you have taken and that town you have been privileged to represent. Now lots of towns have to deal with the same issue around these great States of ours so, if it happens, we will get through it, not to worry.

That said, we can’t help but wonder why. We don’t think for a second that you were bought by money nor that it was even Sherri’s opposition to overreaching projects that swayed you …… but what you wrote does not make sense to us and so we can’t help but to continue to wonder why.


Richard McCormack

Myrna Naegle

Rob Whittemore

Cynthia Bond

    As resident of La Jolla and as a past board member of The La Jolla Shores Association I was terribly disturbed to see your paper endorse Ray Ellis for the city council seat.

    Sherri Lightner is a strong supporter of the communities she serves and is not under the influence of downtown developers or wealthy members of the community who are only concerned about their personal interests.

    If Council Member Lightner is defeated the community you say the

    La Jolla Light

    serves will be losing a champion. — Barry Graceman, La Jolla