Sdnews rss feed
    La Jolla news and community briefs
    Apr 22, 2018 | 7986 views | 0 0 comments | 0 0 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A bodyboarder squeezes into a mini barrel as his friend films near Marine St. on April 20. BLAKE BUNCH/VILLAGE NEWS
    A bodyboarder squeezes into a mini barrel as his friend films near Marine St. on April 20. BLAKE BUNCH/VILLAGE NEWS
    slideshow
    UC San Diego study: Anyone Can Be an Innovator Students given incentives to innovate are just as skilled as the self-motivated, research finds. What are the traits of an innovator? Is it an inherent or learned quality? Existing theories and empirical research on how innovation occurs largely assume that it is an ingrained quality of the individual and that only people with this innate ability seek and attain jobs that require it; however recent research from the University of California San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy shows this isn’t the case. Economist Joshua S. Graff Zivin and professor of management Elizabeth Lyons tested these previously held notions by creating a contest for UC San Diego’s engineering and computer science students. The competition, outlined in their National Bureau of Economic Research working paper, was designed to answer the question: Are persuaded innovators less capable than those who naturally gravitate to innovative activities? The mobile application contest was advertised through various medium on campus and attracted around 100 students. In order to differentiate between self-selected innovators and “induced” innovators, a random subset of eligible students who did not sign up by the contest deadline were offered a monetary incentive of $100 to participate. In total, 190 students signed up. Submissions between the two groups were evaluated by technology industry participants who acted as judges for the contest and who had no knowledge of which group the proposals came from. The judges evaluated each application across four categories; functionality, user-friendliness, novelty and potential commercial value. Though induced participants were less likely to be drawn from majors that provide the most relevant skills for the competition, such as electrical engineering and computer science, and had lower cumulative GPAs, their success was statistically indistinguishable from those that were innately drawn to the competition. Whether innovators can be created, and how they fare relative to those who self-select into innovative activities, also has important implications for public and private policy, according to the authors. “If individuals are being held back by accurate beliefs about their ability to perform, as our results suggest, then efforts to help individuals overcome the psychological barriers that inhibit their participation could potentially enhance innovative output across a wide range of settings,” said Graff Zivin. “This shows that psychological barriers, if overcome, could meaningfully contribute to the innovation process.” Contest entries were scored from 1-5 on each category for a total score maximum of 20. The developers of the top three applications were awarded prize money. “We selected students at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School of Engineering since these students have technical capabilities to produce impactful inventions,” Lyons said. “In addition, engineers are frequently the targets of interventions to increase innovative activity.” To further explore the psychological factors of innovation, the researchers randomly offered encouragement to subsets of both the induced and self-selected contest participants in order to examine the importance of confidence-building interventions on each sample. While encouragement had no impact on performance on average and was not differentially important for the induced sample, the authors did find surprising results based on student GPA. Students with above-median GPAs performed significantly worse when they received additional encouragement, whereas students with below- median GPAs performed significantly better when they received additional encouragement. “More work is needed to understand the precise mechanisms that explain the effects of encouragement, but they introduce a small nuance to our conclusions,” said Lyons, whose current research projects include using data to analyze firm hiring and organization. “While our work clearly suggests that innovators can be created through inducement subsidies, whether they will also benefit from the confidence-building encouragement of the sort that is standard management practice in many firms may well depend on both their technical capabilities and intrinsic motivation to succeed.” Debby Buchholz Appointed Managing Director of La Jolla Playhouse The Board of Trustees of La Jolla Playhouse announced today the appointment of Debby Buchholz as the Playhouse’s new managing director. Buchholz has served as the Playhouse’s General Manager since 2002 and will begin her duties in this new role on May 1. “Debby Buchholz’s integrity, professionalism and visionary leadership in the field are unmatched. Her deep institutional knowledge, along with her passionate support for our artistic mission, makes her the ideal partner for artistic director Christopher Ashley,” said La Jolla Playhouse Board Chair Lynelle Lynch. “The Board looks forward to celebrating this new leadership team that will continue to strengthen La Jolla Playhouse’s place at the forefront of the American theatre landscape.” “Debby’s extraordinary leadership – both locally in the San Diego community and nationally through her work with LORT, the largest professional theatre association in the country – are an invaluable asset to the organization. For the past ten years, I have witnessed Debby’s incredible dedication to the Playhouse, as well as her unflagging enthusiasm for the work we do on stage and off, and I couldn’t be more pleased to partner with her in this new role,” noted Ashley. In partnership with the Artistic Director, the managing director is responsible for directing overall strategic planning, financial management, marketing, development, production management and labor relations for the organization." San Diego Center for Jewish Culture hosts political commentator Sally Kohn The San Diego Center for Jewish Culture (SDCJC) has announced it is hosting popular political commentator Sally Kohn for a one-night, non-denominational, secular speaking event at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center (JCC) Jacobs Family Campus in La Jolla on May 3 from 7 to 8 p.m.  The event is appropriately titled "Community Divided, Humanity United," a message Kohn advocates in her soon-to-be-released book “The Opposite of Hate: A Field Guide to Repairing Our Humanity." The event is generously funded by the County of San Diego’s Community Enhancement program. "We are thrilled to be partnering with Sally for this poignant night focused entirely on unification, a sentiment the San Diego Center for Jewish Culture advocates strongly in everything we do,” said Brian Garrick, JCC’s cultural arts programs director. “The goal is to bring together diverse, and often marginalized, groups for an honest conversation about the ‘epidemic of incivility’ as well as real-world solutions to curb hate. Sally’s message of compassion and kindness is something that everyone needs to hear.”  A political commentator and columnist for CNN and previously a contributor to Fox News, Kohn is known for her ability to make friends across the political aisle. Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine to host 27th annual Mama’s Day tasting extravaganza The 27th annual Mama’s Day, benefiting Mama’s Kitchen, is scheduled for Friday, May 11 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine located at 3777 La Jolla Village Drive. The fundraising event, held the Friday evening before Mother’s Day features more than 50 chefs offering distinctive tastes ranging from San Diego’s finest restaurants to our city’s top-of-the-line hotels and catering companies who graciously prepare delicious samples for nearly 600 attendees. Mama’s Day is often touted as the original San Diego tasting event and helps to raise critical funds for Mama's Kitchen's mission to deliver three hot, nutritional meals a day, seven days a week and free of charge to local women, men and children vulnerable to hunger due to HIV, cancer or other critical illnesses. Last year, Mama’s Day raised $178,900, which provided 56,794 home-delivered meals to Mama’s Kitchen’s clients. This year, the event aims to raise $215,000 which will provide 73,000 meals to San Diego’s critically ill neighbors. Guests will enjoy food, live music from Bonnie Foster Productions, and fun throughout the evening while dining on distinctive dishes graciously prepared and served by executive chefs from the region’s top restaurants. At this San Diego tasting event, guests are also encouraged to bid on an extensive silent auction or purchase a chance to win fabulous prizes in an opportunity drawing to help raise critical funds for those most vulnerable to hunger in San Diego County. Presented by Nordstrom and hosted by Sycuan, Mama’s Day pre-sale tickets are available for just $150 per person and $175 at the door. Premium VIP tickets are available for $250 each and include early access at 5:30 p.m. to an exclusive VIP dining area and pre-party featuring a private cooking presentation by this year’s culinary host and longtime Mama’s Kitchen supporter, Emmy award-winning chef and author, Sam “The Cooking Guy” Zien, as well as a performance from the San Diego Gay Men’s Chorus. VIP guests will also enjoy a full hosted bar for two hours. Tickets may be purchased online at mamaskitchen.org. Sponsorships are available, and there are opportunities for chefs and restaurants to participate. For more information, contact Geraldine Zamora at 619-233-6262 or geraldine@mamaskitchen.org. Rotary’s Quintessential Craft Beer & Wine Festival on April 28 to benefit multiple charities San Diegans are invited to attend La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary’s 5th Annual Quintessential Craft Beer & Wine Festival on Saturday, April 28 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Nobel Athletic Fields on 8810 Judicial Drive near Interstate 805. This dog-friendly event features access and unlimited samples from more than 30 local and regional breweries, distilleries, and wineries as well as other local vendors. This year, the breweries include Abnormal Beer Co, Ballast Point, Karl Strauss, Kilowatt, Second Chance, and many more. Be sure to also check out Malahat Spirits & Blinking Owl Distillery. Tickets cost $30 in advance, $40 at the door and $15 for active duty military. One hundred percent of the proceeds benefit 45 local and international humanitarian projects stewarded by nearly 100 members of the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Club. Among the many beneficiaries of funds raised by the La Jolla Golden Triangle Rotary Quintessential Festival are The Preuss School UCSD, VA Hospital, Ronald McDonald House and projects benefitting local active military and their families. International efforts include the Rotary Jalalabad School in Afghanistan, and humanitarian projects in India, Africa, Israel and recently, the provision of blankets for refugees arriving under emergency conditions in Macedonia. For more information, visit lajollagtrotary.org. ‘Breakpoint’ authors to speak at DG Wills Books Eminent ecologist Jeremy B.C. Jackson and award-winning journalist Steve Chapple will discuss their timely new book “Breakpoint: Reckoning with America’s Environmental Crises” on Sunday, May 6 at 2 p.m. at D.G.Wills Books, located at 7461 Girard Ave. “Breakpoint” provides an insightful look at the American environmental crisis and emerging solutions from the heartland to the coasts in the era of global climate change. Jeremy B. C. Jackson and Steve Chapple traveled the length of the Mississippi River interviewing farmers, fishermen, scientists, and policymakers to better understand the mounting environmental problems ravaging the United States. Along their journey, which quickly expands to California, Florida, and New York, the pair uncovered surprising and profound connections between ecological systems and environmental crises across the country. Artfully weaving together independent research and engaging storytelling, Jackson and Chapple examine the looming threats from recent hurricanes and fires, industrial agriculture, river mismanagement, extreme weather events, drought, and rising sea levels that are pushing the country toward the breaking point of ecological and economic collapse. Yet, despite these challenges, the authors provide optimistic and practical solutions for addressing these multidimensional issues to achieve greater environmental stability, human well-being, and future economic prosperity. With a passionate call to action, they look hopefully toward emerging and achievable solutions to preserve the country’s future. “Moving, poignant, and timely, ‘Breakpoint’ is both a stark reminder of the urgent environmental challenges facing the planet and a hopeful call to action to those in power. This is boots-on-the-ground science at its finest," said actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio. “‘Breakpoint’ is a stunning book of ecological anthropology from consummate storytellers. The human narratives they bring to light allow us to understand and appreciate how America farmed, drilled, degraded, and overheated the land of the free and the home of the brave. It is fair, compelling, and heartbreaking, as good as anything written by Margaret Mead or Claude Levi Strauss,” said Paul Hawken, author of “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.” Jeremy B. C. Jackson is an emeritus professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and senior scientist emeritus at the Smithsonian Institution. Steve Chapple is an award-winning author and writer of the national newspaper column “Intellectual Capital.” His previous books include “Kayaking the Full Moon” and “Let the Mountains Talk, Let the Rivers Run.” For more information, visit dgwillsbooks.com.
    Comments
    (0)
    Comments-icon Post a Comment
    No Comments Yet
    Raptor man: One group's dedicated effort to educate the public on importance of conservation
    by BLAKE BUNCH
    Apr 20, 2018 | 6273 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Metzgar prepares to cast Bunco, his parahawking partner. BLAKE BUNCH/VILLAGE NEWS
    Metzgar prepares to cast Bunco, his parahawking partner. BLAKE BUNCH/VILLAGE NEWS
    slideshow
    Leath, one of Total Raptor Experience’s Harris’s Hawks, easily flew between trainers. BLAKE BUNCH/VILLAGE NEWS
    Leath, one of Total Raptor Experience’s Harris’s Hawks, easily flew between trainers. BLAKE BUNCH/VILLAGE NEWS
    slideshow
    Bunco hops between Metzgar and Topher Mira. BLAKE BUNCH/VILLAGE NEWS
    Bunco hops between Metzgar and Topher Mira. BLAKE BUNCH/VILLAGE NEWS
    slideshow
    The seemingly unnatural relationship between man and predatory birds has such ancient roots that falconry terms have become a part of our everyday lexicon. “He’s been hoodwinked.” “They look haggard.” Even the word “boozer” is derivative of raptor speak, as a result of the bird “bowsing [drinking]” too much. Falconry, which arguably originated in Mesopotamia or Mongolia, typically utilized the raptors to bring in a quarry of wild game. While the sport has undergone variations over the years, the root understanding between the falconer and raptor remains static. That is, however, until man began to take to the skies himself. David Metzgar has led an extensive career as a scientist. He’s worked in the molecular biology laboratory at the Naval Health Research Center as a researcher and scientific advisor, and also in molecular diagnostics and experimental design data. Still working in science, he now consults part-time with work in molecular evolution and microbiology and is a Scripps Institute staff scientist. He also spends a great deal of time at the Torrey Pines Gliderport. On most days, he’ll be “parahawking,” or paragliding with the aid of his aerial ace Bunco, a Lanner falcon. “I had a friend who studied how these birds utilize infrasound to detect changes in the wind at Berkeley about 40 years ago,” said Metzgar as Bunco was flying for what seemed to be 30 minutes. “Since then, NASA has given this some clout as well.” The birds then show the gliders where to be, a preternatural ability that while humans can try, have not evolved to do. Metzgar, along with his wife and partner, Antonella Zampolli as well as partner Terry Lockwood, now educate the public on these magnificent animals through their company, Total Raptor Experience. Here, Metzgar’s role is that of conservation educator, providing public and private demonstrations of the raptor’s agility and well-balanced nature. Total Raptor Experience has a vast array of predatory birds to exhibit, but during La Jolla Village News’ visit to the reserved aviary at the gliderport, Metzgar begins preparing Grace, a Gyr/Saker hawk ‘s creance [light cord length attached to her talons]. Grace is a well-tempered hawk that, despite her being in the early stages of Metzgar’s training, “hops” from glove to glove, at a distance of up to 10-plus yards with ease. Her reward, “tidbits” of quail. “You know, most in the falconry world will say that they are entirely food-motivated,” said Metzgar. “I believe they honestly enjoy flying. Once they get to soar, the hopping glove to glove is boring for them.” The next raptor up to train was Leath, A Harris’s Hawk. Leath performs some quick hopping exercises with some encouragement, but really seems to get excited at this fake rodent Metzgar retrieves from his hunting vest. “I’m going to twirl this bit around quite vigorously,” said Metzgar, as Leath free flies around a limited area of the glider port. “This is a big game to them,” he says, spinning the bit around, pulling it away from Leath despite his dive bomb efforts. Eventually, after a couple passes, Metzgar rewards Leath by tossing the bit in the air, to which he snags as if catching a pop-fly. The falconer then rewards his raptor – a decent portion of quail carcass – as a trade for the bit. Leath gladly coughs up the bit of leather, preferring to use his tooth-like beak to snap bone. Last up was Metzgar’s parahawking bird, Bunco. Possibly the most trained out of the lot, Bunco hops between gloves without command, taking different approached each time. “He’s too heavy to be flying,” said Metzgar of Bunco. “Most people wouldn’t fly their birds this heavy for fear of them being contented, thinking ‘Well, I don’t have to eat for 6 hours so all is well.’” Despite being over his fighting weight, Bunco darts like a racehorse off the edge of the cliff hits a crosswind and soars (seemingly floating) with an evolutionary design that is difficult to not be awestruck by. Metzgar lets him fly around, dipping into canyons and undoubtedly scouting for prey or potential play victims. Once Metzgar pulls the bit out, Bunco takes to passing between all people present, within inches of their faces. It is clear now. This is Bunco’s game. He enjoys it and is quite talented. “I truly believe they just enjoy flying,” said Metzger. “I’m also convinced that they remember individual people,” Metzgar says to his friend and helper, Topher Mira. “They all have very individual personalities, and seem to have this tangible presence of mind he adds.” TOTAL RAPTOR EXPERIENCE Where: Open spaces for free-flight, Torrey Pines Gliderport, one’s own backyard. Website: totalraptorexperience.com. Contact: 619-535-7307. *It should be noted that Total Raptor Experience's weekend exhibitions book quickly, so tickets should be purchased in advance.
    Comments
    (0)
    Comments-icon Post a Comment
    No Comments Yet
    La Jolla news and community briefs
    Apr 09, 2018 | 30769 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Dennis Wills, owner of DG Wills Books, and Sean Penn at Penn's April 7 reading of his novel, 'Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff,' at the bookstore. PHOTO BY BLAKE BUNCH
    Dennis Wills, owner of DG Wills Books, and Sean Penn at Penn's April 7 reading of his novel, 'Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff,' at the bookstore. PHOTO BY BLAKE BUNCH
    slideshow
    Junior League of San Diego Announces Kentucky Derby-themed Food and Wine Festival  On May 5, Junior League of San Diego (JLSD) will welcome 1,200 guests to its 18th annual Food and Wine Festival at La Jolla Cove. Guests will enjoy San Diego’s best restaurants and beverage purveyors while cheering on their favorite horse during a live viewing of the Kentucky Derby. The event raises critical funds for programs that support transition-aged foster youth and train local women to become community leaders.  “The Food and Wine Festival is one of the rare opportunities of the year to experience the beauty of La Jolla Cove at an event setting like this,” said Rachel Thompson, president of the Junior League of San Diego. “And what better way to give back to our community, than by sampling our region’s best food and cheering on your favorite horse?” The ultimate outdoor foodie experience will feature more than 50 of San Diego’s finest vendors, including: Farmer & the Seahorse;  We Olive in La Jolla; Viewpoint Brewing in Del Mar; Truluck's Seafood, Steak and Crab House; The Oceanaire Seafood Room; Quady Winery; True Food Kitchen; Fallbrook Winery.  With the Kentucky Derby theme, attendees are encouraged to don their favorite derby hat and dress to impress as they watch a live viewing of the 144th annual Kentucky Derby. Festivities commence at noon and continue until 5 p.m. at Ellen Scripps Browning Park at La Jolla Cove, with the chance to win great prizes through the silent auction and raffles. Later on, guests can join an exclusive after-party at the La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla (within walking distance of the Food and Wine Festival).     Ticket prices start at $75, with a valet parking option available for purchase. Ticket cost includes unlimited tastings of exquisite bites, flavorful wines, handcrafted cocktails and craft beers. Exclusive VIP tickets will also include a VIP-only lounge, VIP gift bag and access to exclusive premier vendors.  Junior League of San Diego thanks its sponsors, including media sponsor San Diego Magazine, for making this event possible. For a complete list of participating vendors and to purchase tickets, please visit www.jlsd.org/foodandwine. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available, as well as donations if anyone is unable to attend this highly anticipated event.  For more information on how to support this event, please contact foodandwine@jlsd.org. Westfield UTC announces new parking plan Along with increased parking capacity, an all-new valet drive-up on La Jolla Village Drive and convenient “Park Assist” technology, UTC will implement a secured parking plan that keeps parking free for the first two hours, with an hourly fee afterward. Beginning this Fall, Westfield UTC will introduce a secured parking plan that alleviates the growing problem of parking spot “poaching” by individuals who leave their vehicles on the property for several hours at a time (or even on a longer-term basis) only to make visits elsewhere in the local neighborhood. For the approximately 85 percent of guests who complete their visits in under two hours, the parking experience at UTC will be as free as ever: the first two hours of parking at UTC will remain free of charge. As UTC has emerged as one of the few remaining free parking locations in the increasingly dense Golden Triangle business district, individuals not actually visiting the shopping center have been taking advantage of the neighborhood’s extremely limited parking. On a daily basis, hundreds of cars are parked on site for several hours – or even for the entire day, and UTC guests have reported being inconvenienced as a result. This issue is expected to increase even further with the planned addition of a new regional transit center and trolley station alongside the property, resulting in an influx of daily commuters who could use UTC as a place to park before proceeding elsewhere. As such, UTC’s new secured parking plan is Westfield’s decision to do right by its valued customers and guests, doing more to ensure they have access to the parking they deserve. Meet the 'Bad Boy Painter' Discover his newest “Daring Contemporary Works” on Saturday, April 21, at 1111 Prospect Street, La Jolla by the Sea “Why are the figures faceless? It’s a universal language free of racial limitations, and a reflection of society’s fear of individuality.”-Mark Kostabi Mark Kostabi-exclusively represented in the United States by Martin Lawrence Galleries-has long been admired for his spectacular fine art, accomplishments, provocative media persona, living a New York lifestyle to the fullest and telling his own unique story of the fine art scene. The figures that populate his paintings are fife with body language that clearly express basic human instincts. Kostabi’s faceless ones speak a universal language alluding to contemporary political, social and psychological issues, with stylistic roots in the work of Giorgio de Chirico and Fernand Léger. Kostabi’s new works articulate an artistic sense of the moment that is captured in various iterations of his ‘Everyone’ romantic depictions, simply embracing couples, symmetrically posed hand-to-hand pairs, celebratory ‘toasters,’ as well as ‘sexters’ and other couples amusingly obsesses with their modern tech-all rendered with fuss but elevated with beautiful color and stencil elements. “As an artist, for me, the people are the brushes, the people are the paint. I direct my laser pointer to a particular section of an idea projected before the Kostabi team and offer advice and suggestions, I am a painter at an easel, directing the zeitgeist towards the clarity and timelessness of art."-Mark Kostabi Kostabi was born in Los Angeles in 1960 to Estonian immigrants and raised in Whittier, California. He went on to study drawing and painting at California State University, Fullerton, then moved to New York in the early 80’s. and soon emerged as a leading figure of the East Village art movement. Kostabi has designed album covers-among them (Guns ‘N’ Roses use your Illusion, The Ramones ‘Adios Amigos and a number of numerous products. His work has been featured in the New York Times, people, Vogue, Playboy, Forbes, New York Magazine, Art Forum and Art in America. Retrospective exhibitions of Kostabi’s paintings have been held at the Mitsukoshi Museum in Tokyo (1982), the Art Museum of Estonia in Tallinn (1998) and the Chiostro del Bramante in Room in 2206. Kostabi’s work is in over 50 permanent museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Guggenheim Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, the National Gallery in Washington DC, the Corcoran Gallery of Art and others. Kostabi has been profiled on 60 minutes, A Current Affair, the Oprah Winfrey Show, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, CNN and MTV. Martin Lawrence Galleries (MLG) is extremely proud to exclusively offer Kostabi’s originals and considers the artist as someone who continues to leave an indelible impression on the art world. MLG offers the works of Mark Kostabi, along with other 20th and 21st century masters including Chagall, Picasso, Warhol, Haring, Dalí at their fine art galleries located in 9 cities from New York to New Orleans, Maui to La Jolla.
    Comments
    (0)
    Comments-icon Post a Comment
    No Comments Yet
    Thanks to a loophole, remodels along the coast are actually new homes
    by ANDREW KEATTS
    Mar 26, 2018 | 11947 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A developer tore down a home he had just remodeled to take advantage of the city’s 50 percent rule, a development loophole. / PHOTO BY ADRIANA HELDIZ
    A developer tore down a home he had just remodeled to take advantage of the city’s 50 percent rule, a development loophole. / PHOTO BY ADRIANA HELDIZ
    slideshow
    New homes in Bird Rock stand in stark contrast to their smaller, older neighbors. / PHOTO BY ADRIANA HELDIZ
    New homes in Bird Rock stand in stark contrast to their smaller, older neighbors. / PHOTO BY ADRIANA HELDIZ
    slideshow
    STORY PUBLISHED BY VOICE OF SAN DIEGO Coastal residents have for years hated that developers can tear down small homes in older neighborhoods and build much bigger ones in their place. They say the new homes are big and ugly, block the sun and the breeze and strangle the sensation that you’re on the coast. The catch-all complaint is that the new, big homes are destroying the “community character” of established neighborhoods. One specific loophole in the city’s development regulations makes it a relatively easy process – at least easier than the alternative – and a handful of local developers have turned it into a lucrative business. Developers can acquire permits to tear down and rebuild a new home in as little as a day, if they keep 50 percent of the existing home. Otherwise, they’d have to get a coastal development permit, which requires a political process developers say adds $100,000 to a project and delays it by about a year. The law as written is intended to make it easy to remodel a home, but developers have learned they can usually figure out how to keep enough walls to build a new home from scratch and qualify as a remodel. It’s a way of circumventing a permit only required on the coast, thanks to the 1976 Coastal Act, which intended to control development on the coast and protect coastal resources. “The reality is that the CDP process is so onerous and broken that everybody does everything they can to avoid a coastal permit,” said Mark Morris, an architect with Oasis Architecture and Design, which is active on the coast. He’s not kidding. According to city data, nearly 10 permits receive an exemption from the coastal development permit requirements for every one that goes through the standard process. The loophole has swallowed the rule. The 50 percent rule is enticing all over the coast, because it saves significant time and money. But it’s become especially controversial in Bird Rock, where there’s been a rash of rebuilds in recent years. Old, small beach bungalows there have provided a ready-made supply of chances to buy, demolish and rebuild them into big, modern homes. What isn’t clear is whether the Coastal Commission, the state agency that oversees coastal development and signed off on the city’s regulations that exempt certain projects from getting a coastal development permit, cares about any of this. A Coastal Commission staffer said the Coastal Act was meant to protect coastal resources from new development – and that “community character” is one of those resources. Every five years, the commission is supposed to check in on whether the plans it approved to let cities exempt certain projects from coastal requirements are being implemented in the spirit of the Coastal Act. In practice, that basically never happens. “Unfortunately, the commission has never had the funding to carry this out in a systematic way. We’ve only done three or four in 40 years,” said Sarah Christie, legislative director of the California Coastal Commission. After years of growing discontent, a group that started in Bird Rock is now pushing the city to adopt a new set of rules. They’ve barnstormed community planning groups in Point Loma, La Jolla, Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach and Torrey Pines looking for support. The groups have now sent letters of support to the City Council members who represent the coast, Barbara Bry and Lorie Zapf. “We’re concerned about developers, flippers, coming in, developing homes of large bulk and scale, out of character with the neighborhood, out of character with the community plan,” said Sharon Wampler, a leader of the group, at a meeting last year of the Peninsula planning group. They hope the city will pick up their list of changes to pass an anti-mansionization ordinance, as Los Angeles did last year when confronted with the same types of community concerns. 50 Percent, Times Two Dave Ish was alarmed watching the construction across Linda Rosa Avenue from his Bird Rock home. A green fence went up around the small, unassuming house across from him on Linda Rosa Avenue, and he figured there was another 50 percent project on the way. The developer was Ben Ryan, of Tourmaline Properties. He builds about 15 projects a year, up and down the coast. “Ultimately, our goal is to achieve the best design,” Ryan said. “If it’s possible to achieve a great design by using the 50 percent rule, we do, and if not then we get a coastal development permit.” In this case, he had indeed figured out how to build the new home he wanted within the loophole. He used the loophole twice, though. First, he used it for something that resembles a remodel: He added a closet to the side of the house that expanded the home’s footprint. Then he used the loophole again, tearing down what he had just built but maintaining the new walls so he could build the new, bigger home that he wanted. “Doing a sequence of 50 percents allowed us to do a better design,” he said. The new home will be quite a bit bigger than the one it replaced, but still within what’s allowed by the city’s zoning. But that project has run into a series of problems, as Ish has kept track of the rebuild and repeatedly contacted the city’s Development Services Department with what he thought were problems. First, he noticed the shoddy craftsmanship of the first addition – expecting that the intent was to tear it down. The city signed off on the final inspection of that work, until Ish’s badgering led them to revoke the approval in January. In an email, a Development Services official acknowledged that was because Ish alerted them to violations. “It’s a joke,” Ish said. “The city is complicit in this. They just go along. They could make it so that once you get a permit, you have to wait a period to get another one. I don’t know what’s going on, but it’s really outrageous.” Ryan, though, simply needed to improve the work and pass final inspection again, which he did. His request for a second permit was on hold until that happened. He has since received it and construction has resumed. But Ryan used another clever interpretation to his advantage. City zoning stipulates that homes can be a certain square footage, relative to the size of their lot. Car ports – defined as anything with three open walls – don’t count toward that square footage, while garages do. Ryan turned the garage into a car port. A DSD official confirmed that meant the garage’s square footage could then be redistributed to the new home. Ultimately, it’s the size of the new homes that the neighbors dislike. Unlike most other neighborhood-developer fights, this isn’t about density; these are old single-family homes getting replaced by new single-family homes. But neighbors think the bigger homes are outside the “bulk and scale” of the neighborhood. “The property rights of the person developing the property outweigh the property rights of everyone in the surrounding neighborhood,” Ish said. “That doesn’t fly. If anything, I think the property rights of the existing property owners outweigh, and they should at least control what the person can develop.” One developer once told him that putting strict regulations that limit new development would simply hurt the value of everyone’s property, in some cases as much as $500,000. “I don’t really give a damn about you, or the guy who wants to build a mansion – I don’t care about his bank account,” Ish said. “But look, if these things go up next to you, they don’t increase your property value.” Empty Promises Joe LaCava is a Bird Rock resident and veteran of community planning in San Diego. He’s been a longtime member of the La Jolla Community Planning Association, and the chair of the Community Planners Committee, the umbrella group for planning groups citywide. He’s also a land use consultant. He’s not convinced the mansionization problem – a term he doesn’t like in the first place – is as big an issue as many of his neighbors think. Mainly, that’s because he isn’t so sure the point of the Coastal Act was ever to regulate single-family home-building in single-family neighborhoods. In other words, why not forget about the loophole, and just let developers tear down and rebuild homes on the coast? That’s a perspective Morris, one of the active coastal architects, shares too. “It seems to me their larger concerns are power plants on the beach, or digging into a hillside that threatens a coastal bluff,” he said. “That’s why the requirement exists. If you look at the entire coastal zone, and look at properties in the flats of PB, why would they need a coastal permit?” The coastal zone extends outside what you might consider close to the coast. Homes that are west of the closest roadway to the ocean aren’t eligible for exemption – they all get reviewed. But the coastal zone extends all the way to I-5 in Pacific Beach. Want to rebuild a single-family home near the Wienerschnitzel on Garnett? Find a loophole, or get ready to wait. Knowing Where the Line Is Bob Vacchi, director of Development Services, said the city has figured out how to police the most creative interpretations of the 50 percent rule. For instance, developers have tried to maintain half of the walls as they were, then move them to the edge of the yard and lean them against a fence and claim that they’ve maintained half of the structure. That doesn’t fly. But others realized they can dig out the foundation of a house, leaving nothing but a hole in its place, and suspend the old walls in the air exactly where the walls used to stand. That’s perfectly legal. “So the frame wall would be sitting 20 feet in the air, on a single brace, but it’s exactly where it was before, so that would fly,” he said. “We’ve gotten better and better as we’ve gone along because people have tried different things and we’ve always tried to enforce it in a consistent way, and now it’s pretty routine and pretty common.” The city relies on a memo spelling out how it has decided to interpret what it means to keep 50 percent of a home. It’s complex, but dependable. To the handful of developers who’ve done it dozens of times, it’s second nature. But to an out-of-town developer, it’s not only confusing, but absurd. That’s also opened up a business model local developers have been able to exploit. “Getting around the 50 percent rule is so difficult that you need a local architect to understand it,” Morris said. “If you change it, you’ll have architects from outside the area coming in.” But the city says it has the process dialed in and is comfortable that developers simply can’t fudge it. They measure to the inch. “We’ve had neighbors call us and say they moved a wall six inches, and we go out and measure. Once they do that, it’s gone,” Geiler said, meaning developers lost their exemption mid-project and had to halt construction and start the coastal development permit process. “It’s been years and years now, so the builders are getting pretty savvy in terms of knowing where the line is,” Vacchi said. Twice last year, Geiler said, developers had to stop midway and go get a coastal development permit. One of those, in March of last year, was a house in Torrey Pines caught by neighbors who sent photos and an outline of their issues to city staff. “I have conducted a site inspection with the field supervisor and agree that the methods were improper,” DSD senior planner Duke Fernandez wrote in an email. “The movement of the walls resulted in the loss of their coastal exemptions, the applicant is now being required to obtain a (CDP).” To Ish, it all feels a bit silly – and not reassuring – that neighbors keep catching things that Development Services is supposed to be on top of. This week, Development Services sent him an email saying that Ryan was going to be forced to remove some of a deck and make the house a bit smaller due to additional issues Ish had pointed out. “Should I send my bill for being a developer COP to the DSD or Police Department?” Ish wrote in an email. The New Neighbors Lucas and Marie Rotter are a married couple in their 30s. They just moved to San Diego, opting for the laid-back lifestyle of Bird Rock over the frantic pace (and traffic) of Los Angeles. They happen to have bought one of the new, big mansions that pissed off so many neighbors. Lucas Rotter, who runs a software company, said he understands the complaints, but thinks it’d be counterproductive for the city to make it harder to build new homes. “What’s the alternative? A neighborhood of dilapidated homes,” he said. “This neighborhood used to be a bunch of little bungalows, and now that’s changing. It’s part of life.” Marie Rotter said they chose the neighborhood because it wasn’t too touristy. She said the new homes people are building are inevitable given the increasing property values on the coast. “There’s still height and (square footage) restrictions,” she said. “I don’t see what’s wrong with letting people build what they want, within the constraints of zoning. People just don’t want change.” Morris, one of the active coastal architects involved in ongoing discussions over the proposal, said the city needs to be careful if it tries to rewrite the requirements. “The community group heading up this push is a small nucleus from La Jolla and they’re trying to push on everyone what they think the character of their community should be,” he said. “I don’t want the coast of San Diego to look like a single development.” Although LaCava doesn’t take issue with the city’s exemption process, he thinks it is still responsible for the anger among neighbors, because of how it sells community plans. City planners and elected officials describe community plans as contracts between neighbors, the city and developers about how and where an area will grow. In practice, plenty of new developments get approved without anyone ever checking them against the existing community plan. For example, when a developer gets a coastal development permit, city staffers determine whether the project meets the subjective criteria in a community plan. Take La Jolla’s plan. One of its guiding policies for residential development says the city should “avoid extreme and intrusive changes to the residential scale of La Jolla’s neighborhoods and to promote good design and harmony within the visual relationships and transitions between new and older structures.” Upset neighbors could point to that policy as evidence that a new proposed home doesn’t meet match the plan, and pressure the developer to make changes. But a project that uses the 50 percent rule doesn’t require anyone in the city to ever glance at a community plan. City staff simply checks to make sure it meets the hard-and-fast rules outlined in zoning – how tall, how far from the sidewalk, what type of project — and cuts the developer a permit. “The city needs to stop making promises it can’t keep,” LaCava said. “If they don’t intend to follow through with all the descriptions and renderings they put in community plans, they should stop doing it.” Gary Geiler, a program manager with the Development Services Department who is the guru of the city’s zoning code, confirmed that city staff doesn’t consult community plans when granting what are known as “ministerial” permits. “We don’t look at those things against a community plan,” Geiler said. “And right now we’re making more and more things ministerial. The only possibility is the hope that the zone itself will control bulk and scale.” The Proposed Fix Residents, led by Wampler, are optimistic they can work with the city and developers to put a new, clearer system in place. Developers themselves are even open, if cautious, to potential alternatives. “An incentive-based zoning has the potential to be a really good thing for the community if executed well, and I’m hopeful a proposal could be developed and fine-tuned that promotes good design,” Ryan said. “I’m interested in being helpful in that process and being part of that process.” The thrust of the proposal is to incentivize developers to build a certain type of home. For each characteristic they meet – setting it back from the curb by a certain distance, or keeping it below a certain height – they’d earn more square footage to disperse through the home. Ideally, they’d want those standards to be clearly defined, so residents could forget about creative interpretations, and developers could have some predictability. They aren’t there yet. A handful of developers sent the group a letter outlining problems they had with the proposal as written. Mostly it was that the new standards were either subjective, or overly onerous. “The problem we have with the incentive-based code is they’re using it to restrict homeowners’ rights – people buy a property with an expectation of rights, and the value is based on the right to build to a certain-sized home,” Morris said. He estimated that most of his clients build to over 95 percent of the allowable square footage, maximizing the value their zoning allows. But an incentive-based code that lets his clients get to that same point, he said, would hypothetically be fine. Wampler and five others in La Jolla started their group back in 2015 and conducted a year and a half of meetings and information-gathering before issuing a final report that summarized their problems. That’s the basis of their proposal, which they then took to other coastal groups looking for buy-in. When Wampler presents the group’s proposal to those planning groups, though, she’s talking to a receptive audience. “What we found is, the root cause and underlying issues of vacation rentals, bulk and scale, community character and lack of enforcement from the city are happening everywhere,” she said. “And we’re not against change, or new builds, but we live in a community, not on individual islands, so it’s important to pull together. The left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing, even though we’re all fighting common issues.” They’ve now got sympathetic letters in hand from all the coastal groups. The city might not be so eager to jump back into the issue. It already went through the public process of crafting a “categorical exclusion” that would eliminate all the loopholes and interpretations and simply allow developers to demolish non-historic homes and build new ones in their place. That’s been stalled with Coastal Commission staff since 1997.
    Comments
    (0)
    Comments-icon Post a Comment
    No Comments Yet
    La Jolla news and community briefs
    Mar 23, 2018 | 46344 views | 0 0 comments | 24 24 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    'Once Upon a Time in the West,' by artist Kota Ezowa (2017) is located at 7905 Heschel Ave. With Salk-selected architect, Louis Kahn in the foreground, this is one work that arguably could not provide a better depiction of the development of La Jolla. Sponsored by Lisette and Mick Farell, Ezowa's works adds to the charming Murals of La Jolla project. For more information, visit muralsoflajolla.com. BLAKE BUNCH/VILLAGE NEWS
    'Once Upon a Time in the West,' by artist Kota Ezowa (2017) is located at 7905 Heschel Ave. With Salk-selected architect, Louis Kahn in the foreground, this is one work that arguably could not provide a better depiction of the development of La Jolla. Sponsored by Lisette and Mick Farell, Ezowa's works adds to the charming Murals of La Jolla project. For more information, visit muralsoflajolla.com. BLAKE BUNCH/VILLAGE NEWS
    slideshow
    Coastal Writers Connect networking happy hour On Thursday, March 29 at 7 p.m., meet other local writers, exchange ideas, announce projects, share information, advance your marketing, or update skills. The happy hour will be held at Hennessey’s, located at 7811 Herschel Ave. Cost is $5. The first event combined with “Off the Wall” 3-minute fiction open mic night. For more information, contact Diane Malloy at mdtm07@gmail.com. Registration open for PGA Jr. League Boys and girls learn and play golf on teams with their friends PGA and LPGA professionals in the San Diego area are offering PGA Jr. League, a game-changing way for kids to learn and play golf. The program brings friends and family together around fun, team golf experiences with expert coaching and instruction from PGA and LPGA professionals. Boys and girls of all background and skill levels learn and play together in a supportive, two-person scramble format that encourages mentorship, builds confidence, and promotes sportsmanship. PGA Jr. League is primarily for boys and girls ages 13 and under, though some facilities offer 16-and-under programs (included in the online program description). Below is a list of facilities hosting open registration, meaning that families don’t have to have an existing relationship with the golf course in order for their kids to participate, in the greater San Diego area. Parents can visit PGAJrLeague.com to search with their kids for a team by ZIP code or facility, and register online for the following golf courses: Mission Trails Golf Course, Mission Bay Golf Course, Tecolote Canyon Golf Course, NAS/Sea & Air Golf Course, Admiral Baker Golf Course*, The Loma Club, Rancho Carlsbad Golf Course* and Torrey Pines Golf Course. San Diego Symphony ‘Leonard Bernstein at 100’ As one of the most celebrated musicians of his time, Leonard Bernstein (1918 – 1990) dedicated his life and career to the joy of music and the development of humanity. In his centennial year, the San Diego Symphony is proud to host a special Bernstein Festival in association with “Leonard Bernstein at 100”, a worldwide celebration of his 100th birthday. Throughout May, the San Diego Symphony will perform four special programs honoring Leonard Bernstein’s life as a composer, conductor, educator, musician, cultural ambassador, and activist. The San Diego Symphony’s month-long salute to Bernstein’s Centennial kicks off on May 4 and 6 with one of his great early successes, music to the ballet "Fancy-Free" led by Maestro Fabien Gabel. The celebration continues on May 8 with a chamber concert featuring pianist Orli Shaham, then May 11 to 13 it’s San Diego’s update of the famous “BBB” classical formula featuring Bernstein’s “Jeremiah Symphony,” written in 1944 when the composer was 24 years old and desperate to call out fascism’s destructive ascendency in Europe. The festival concludes May 25 to 27 with “Lenny’s” quintessential curtain-raiser, the overture to Candide led by Maestro Edo de Waart. Tickets are on sale for all Bernstein Festival performances. For more information, visit sandiegosymphony.org/bernstein-festival/ or call the box office at 619-235-0804. Steven A. Cohen military family clinic coming to Veterans Village of San Diego America’s finest city, home to more than 300,000 veterans, will soon offer veterans and their families access to life-saving personalized care at no cost or low cost through The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Veterans Village. “Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD) is honored to partner with the Cohen Veteran Network to operate and run a state-of-the-art military family mental health clinic in San Diego,” said Kim Mitchell, VVSD president, and CEO. “San Diego has for decades been a city that respects and supports its active-duty and retired military, and Veterans Village of San Diego has been an important partner in that effort. We welcome The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Veterans Village of San Diego, which will be a much-needed resource for our growing population of veterans living here in San Diego,” said  Mayor Kevin Faulconer. The Cohen Clinics treat any post-9/11 veteran who has served in the United States Armed Forces, regardless of role while in uniform, discharge status, or combat experience. This includes the National Guard and Reserves and family members of veterans. VVSD believes that it is the responsibility of all Americans to support the courageous and honorable veterans who have returned home. The Cohen Clinic at Veterans Village will help to address the immediate mental health needs for veterans and their families dealing with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, adjustment issues, anger, grief and loss, family issues, etc. The new Cohen Clinic at Veterans Village is expected to open in November.
    Comments
    (0)
    Comments-icon Post a Comment
    No Comments Yet
    News
    Lufthansa offers nonstop service from San Diego to Frankfurt
    Beginning this spring, the Lufthansa Group will expand its network in California when it opens its third and fourth official gateways in the Golden State.  Specifically, Lufthansa’s third gateway w...
    Published - Monday, March 26
    full story
    La Jolla MAD in court once again: March 29 showdown to determine district legality
    On March 29, San Diego Judge Randa Trapp will once again hear arguments from both sides. At issue is whether or not assessed property under the La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District [MAD] would ...
    Published - Sunday, March 25
    full story
    Free-spirited Point Loma woman creates Wild Hearts & Halos
    Krystal Usher is a free-spirited wanderlust, destined to crisscross the globe crowning heads with her vibrant, turban-style halos. Wild Hearts & Halos, her signature headband line, combines fashion...
    Published - Sunday, March 25
    full story
    ArtSpot: Former Playhouse official reportedly moves Ion Theatre to Boston 
    Kalabash First things first, If you’re ever seeking the latest on Hillcrest’s ion theatre company, this is not the place to find it. In fact, you won’t see any local media information on the group ...
    Published - Saturday, March 24
    full story
    Penn’s first novel, ‘Bob Honey Who Just Do Stuff’ a feverish, chaotic dystopia
    “One believes things because one has been conditioned to believe them.” - Aldous Huxley, “Brave New World.” It could be argued that works of dystopia serve as a bellwether during trying times of te...
    Published - Saturday, March 24
    full story
    Short term vacation rentals cause a stir at Coalition of Town Councils
    Like the tide rolling in, the movement to curb proliferating short-term vacation rentals is sweeping through coastal neighborhoods, gaining in strength and intensity as it goes. That was clearly ev...
    Published - Saturday, March 24
    full story
    Vegan, gluten-free organic bakery and market opens in Mission Beach
    Barefoot Bakery and Market is a new café and restaurant that recently opened on Sunset Court and Mission Boulevard. The restaurant features beautiful indoor seating with vibrantly colored walls cov...
    Published - Saturday, March 24
    full story
    SewingMachinesPlus.com opens storefront in Pacific Beach
    SewingMachinesPlus.com recently announced the grand opening of their second storefront location in the Mission Bay area of Pacific Beach will take place on Saturday, March 24, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m...
    Published - Friday, March 23
    full story
    Opinion: Skeptical that Sunset Cliffs Master Plan is a good thing
    Editor: After my initial anger at seeing the grove of trees at Hillside Park removed, I took the time to read the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Master Plan, all 100-plus pages. I am all for erosion co...
    Published - Friday, March 23
    full story
    Rigs-to-Reefs program continues to address decommissioned oil rigs head on
    Last January, the La Jolla Village News featured a story about two Scripps alumnae, Amber Jackson and Emily Callahan, who champion the concept of converting decommissioned oil rigs into sustainable...
    Published - Friday, March 23
    full story
    Community briefs for Pacific Beach and Mission Beach
    Exotic Expo Turquoise Animal Hospital (950 Turquoise St.) is hosting their seventh annual Exotic Expo from noon-4 p.m. on March 24. They will have music, face painting, raffles, snacks and vendors ...
    Published - Friday, March 23
    full story
    French pianist Pierre-Yves Plat to perform at Dizzy’s
    Dizzy’s continues its wonderfully eclectic booking policy on March 31 with a special appearance from French pianist Pierre-Yves Plat. A virtuoso performer, Plat has captivated audiences since his 2...
    Published - Friday, March 23
    full story
    Jail, fines for giving alcohol to minors in San Diego
    2013: 11 2014: 8 2015: 13 2016: 12 2017: 12 Those are the numbers of San Diegans under the age of 21 who had alcohol in their system when they died, according to County Medical Services annual data...
    Published - Friday, March 23
    full story
    La Jolla High school faces school safety issues with pointed plan of action
    In the aftermath of the Parkland, Fla. mass school shooting, La Jolla High parents are questioning how safe their school really is. More importantly, they’re asking themselves, what can be done to ...
    Published - Friday, March 23
    full story
    Current Issues(Archives)
    La Jolla Village News, April 20th, 2018
    download La Jolla Village News, April 20th, 2018
    La Jolla Village News, April 20th, 2018
    Beach & Bay Press, April 19th, 2018
    download Beach & Bay Press, April 19th, 2018
    Beach & Bay Press, April 19th, 2018
    The Peninsula Beacon, April 12th, 2018
    download The Peninsula Beacon, April 12th, 2018
    The Peninsula Beacon, April 12th, 2018
    La Jolla Village News, April 6th, 2018
    download La Jolla Village News, April 6th, 2018
    La Jolla Village News, April 6th, 2018