Veterans seek to light Mount Soledad Memorial


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To weigh-in on the lights at Mount Soledad Natural Park, call Mark Moncey at (858) 581-9716.

By Pat Sherman

A proposal to provide electricity to light the flag, walkway and veterans’ memorial walls at Mount Soledad Natural Park was presented by Mark Moncey, area manager for parks and recreation in La Jolla, at the May 21 meeting of the La Jolla Parks and Beaches advisory committee.

The proposal by the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association calls for an easement to be created so that electrical current can travel underground from a panel at the park entrance to the memorial. The veterans association, which would fund the project, said the electricity would also provide power for PA systems during events, such as its annual Memorial Day observance, though it would not be used to light the controversial cross.

“We’ve had many site meetings,” Moncey said. “From a parks and rec standpoint we are satisfied as far as the progress thus far.”

Some people in attendance questioned whether the project would create light pollution that would interfere with stargazing atop Mount Soledad, or shine inside neighbors’ windows.

“That location is a known city overview,” said John Beaver, a Parks and Beaches committee member. “Hundreds of people come up there to see the view of the city, and the darkness enhances the view from Mount Soledad over the city on clear nights. That should be heavily considered.”

Mt. Soledad Memorial Association trustee Bob Phillips said the proposed LED lights are being requested for public safety and are “so low level that they probably won’t be seen anywhere beyond the site.”

Unless the flag is lit at night, Phillips noted, someone must raise it at sunrise and lower it at sunset each day.

Mary Ellen Morgan asked if a light powered by a generator could be used to first demonstrate the brightness of the proposed lighting “so that everyone can see that it’s not going to bother the stars … so that when this is decided it’s not a big surprise.

“I think you won’t have as much resistance if you do something like that,” she said.

However, Moncey said an initial demonstration wasn’t part of the current plan. The San Diego City Council will ultimately vote on whether or not to approve the lights.

In the end, a motion was made and approved to table the issue until the committee’s June meeting, so that the public can have time to weigh in.