La Jolla Village News' 2016 Year in Review: The shack comes back, Mt. Soledad resolved and pinniped problems
The Windansea Shack was rebuilt in June after being destroyed by heavy surf in January. Surfer Izzy Poulin
walks by the Shack in early June before the palm fronds roof was installed. PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE
Try as one may, it should prove challenging to dismiss aspects of 2016. While many of the issues facing the La Jolla community can often times prove divisive, albeit repetitive, the underlying respect and pride in the community remains palpable.
Approaching 2017, many of the issues you will find in the following “year-in-review” article will remain just so. From a notion of seceding from the City to the ever-present seal stench issue, La Jollans will indefinitely look for resolutions regarding any current and future issues that arise.
Jan. 15, 2016
An idea that has been around throughout the prominence of La Jolla, this past January, some residents were once again pushing for secession from the City of San Diego. Longtime La Jolla resident Melinda Merryweather, a member of La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc., championed the idea of an “Independent La Jolla.”
“We [Independent La Jolla] are going to do a fundraising drive for the funds that are needed to do a new feasibility study, which is $45,000,” said Merryweather. “Also, we will conduct a metes and bounds study, which will define the boundaries of La Jolla, which is our zip code 92037. That should [cost] around $35,000. So for $85,000, we can prove we can be our own city and do away with any doubt. It is possible, I believe.... with nothing to lose but the City of San Diego.”
Jan. 29, 2016
The San Diego surf world lost one if its true pioneers, Larry Gordon, on New Year’s Day of 2016. Almost 400 surfers attended his Jan. 18 memorial paddle-out at Tourmaline Beach, representative of his contributions to the sport and humanity in general.
In January of 2016, the La Jolla Shores Association received a progress report on an ongoing investigation into flooding caused during a series of storms that month. Though initial reports said that the water and sewer issues would be fixed in March (‘16), work on Avenida de Playa continued well into late-November.
Feb. 26, 2016
Typically under a good deal of scrutiny, rescuers at SeaWorld on Feb. 21, 2016 successfully disentangled a 25-foot juvenile humpback whale, estimated to be 1 year old, observed about three miles off the coast of La Jolla. The marine park’s animal rescue team was alerted to the whale's presence by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife at 1 p.m. and was on scene two hours later.
The first medical marijuana dispensary was opened in District 1 on Feb. 27. Torrey Holistics, located in Sorrento Valley, began operations under the guide of the Compassionate Use Act of 1996. The dispensary further noted that California Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law comprehensive medical marijuana regulations empowering local municipalities to give patients and provides guidelines for legally dispensing medical cannabis.
Perhaps the cutest intruder ever wandered into a booth at The Marine Room for shelter on Feb. 4, 2016. A 4-month-old sea lion pup named Marina was then cared of at SeaWorld’s Animal Rescue Center. Marina made a speedy recovery and was freed shortly thereafter.
Mar. 3, 2016
Longtime community planner Joe LaCava was named by La Jolla Town Council as La Jolla's first honorary mayor in late Feb. of 2016. The town council bestows the title on a La Jollan who exemplifies “a personal commitment to the community ... who operates with integrity … and has demonstrated the ability to work with others of all backgrounds and points of view, not for their own personal benefit but for the benefit of the community as a whole.”
Mar. 25, 2016
SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby announced March 17 that the company will halt killer whale breeding, end its theatrical Orca shows and double down on conservation and rescue efforts. And it’s partnering with a longtime adversary, the Humane Society, to do it.
The Orca shows will end at the San Diego park in 2017, while the San Antonio and Orlando parks will end the shows by 2019.
Apr. 8, 2016
At the April La Jolla Parks and Beaches Inc. meeting, member Bill Robbins, pinch-hitting for absent chair Dan Allen, addressed “camping” at the cove on holidays.
“I'd like to talk about camping in parks at the beach in relation to what the (La Jolla) Shores is doing,” Robbins said, noting the Cove “turns into a tent city on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day.”
Apr. 22, 2016
San Diego Lifeguard Sgt. Ed Harris spoke on the extent of visitors interfering with seals and sea lions.
“There's no way for us (lifeguards) to try to mitigate them touching or petting the marine mammals,” said Harris. “I have literally seen people pet the stomach of a sea lion as if it was a dog.”
In March of 2015, a sea lion bit a 5-year-old boy on his face as he wandered too close for comfort. Due to the familiarity between the aquatic mammals and humans, these interactions are strongly cautioned against.
May 6, 2016
Amid 1,500 Scripps people, a fleet of ships, field stations on the North and South poles, satellites, people in airplanes and robots exploring the ocean floor, the information from Scripps that comes to the aquarium will be vast and ever changing.
This is good news to Birch Director Harry Helling, who sees the continued support of San Diego residents as a key factor in being able to bring it all back to the community. “We’re part of Scripps, and we’re part of UCSD,” says Helling, “and a lot of people don’t know that.
An Orange County Superior Court judge ruled May 3 that the City of San Diego's attempt to close the Children's Pool beach in La Jolla is unlawful. Judge Frederick Horn ruled in the case of Friends of the Children’s Pool vs. the City of San Diego and the California Coastal Commission, that the city and the commission are prohibited from enforcing the Local Coastal Program amendment and the coastal development permit issued by the commission and the city ordinance for the seasonal closure of Children’s Pool.
May 20, 2016
Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial Association's mission is to create and maintain a monument paying homage to veterans who've honorably served our country and to educate the public on the contributions of military personnel throughout our nation's history. After more than two decades of controversy, the area immediately surrounding the landmark 40-foot-tall cross was privately owned, a sale deemed questionable by some groups.
June 3, 2016
Scripps Health opened the John R. Anderson V Medical Pavilion on June 1, a state-of-the-art $130 million outpatient clinic featuring 17 medical and surgical specialties including cardiology, neurology, diabetes and endocrinology, gastroenterology, dermatology, nephrology and family medicine. Medical services are being provided by Scripps Clinic Medical Group.
The Scripps outpatient center and one operated by Cedar Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles are the only ones in California operating full-service outpatient catheterization laboratories outside a hospital through special state legislation approved in 2012.
June 17, 2016
The Windansea Shack turned 70 this year and – except for the palm frond roof – has been fully restored by volunteers after being pummeled by a storm last Christmas. The Shack is a historic landmark on the Windansea Beach in La Jolla and it has officially been restored following the hard hit it took from a storm last year. Credit for the restoration goes to a nonprofit and the community.
July 1, 2016
Planning on the new Children's Pool tower, one of three built in La Jolla over the past decade which cost $3.1 million to construct, goes back to at least 2007. The project was plagued with problems and delays since the get-go.
La Jolla community planners early on questioned the size and scale of the old tower, built in the 1960s. That tower was condemned by the health department before being razed in fall 2013. Lifeguards had operated out of a pod-like temporary station atop scaffolding next door to the new tower structure under construction ever since.
July 15, 2016
No one was injured, but La Jolla's Fourth of July fireworks display was interrupted – and shortened – by defective fireworks that prematurely exploded more than halfway through the show. “Nine feet of defective pyrotechnics which come in 'cakes,' discharged on the ground 14 minutes into the 25-minute show,” said Deborah Marengo, La Jolla fireworks organizer. “At that point, the fire marshal came in and inspected, noticing that another 9-foot cake had been damaged, the finale fireworks, and deemed that not usable.” “The show continued and, gratefully, no one was injured,”
July 29, 2016
The LJPB Board sanctioned a letter drafted by chair Dan Allen to be sent to the city's Parks and Recreation Department opposing a proposal for DecoBike to extend its bike share stations into the Jewel. Ultimately, the DecoBike proposal was shut down.
Aug. 12, 2016
A marine biologist who completed a study on sea lions and harbor seals in and around La Jolla Cove has concluded that deterring the marine mammals from coming ashore is going to be easier said than done. Dr. Doyle Hanan, of Hanan & Associates Inc., at the City of San Diego's request, recently submitted the results of his year-long research on local pinniped populations and their behavior. Hanan concluded that their recommendations include:
Using only NOAA-approved deterrence methods, i.e. non-lethal "boarding" to bar their way or spraying with hoses, etc.
Installing gates and latches at access points.
Employing strong fencing as a deterrent.
Considering using low-voltage livestock fencing.
Scripps Health invested $117.5 million into community benefit programs and services in the La Jolla area through Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and Scripps Green Hospital during FY2015. The nonprofit health system recently released the 2016 Community Benefit Report detailing its community benefit activities for FY2015 (October 2014 through September 2015).
Sept. 23, 2016
After a 25-year-long battle, An agreement has been reached to allow the sale of the cross, along with its surrounding memorial granite plaque walls, from the U.S. Department of Defense to the Mount Soledad Memorial Association Inc. The La Jolla veterans group bought the half-acre parcel containing the controversial Mount Soledad cross from the Department of Defense the previous year.
Oct. 21, 2016
A plea to Mayor Kevin Faulconer to “invoke his legal right to move and exclude sea lions from specific areas where they are causing a public health and safety problem,” topped the list of proposed action items La Jollans would like to see at the October meeting, and included:
The mayor and City Council designating La Jolla Town Council (LJTC) as the contracting entity to develop a short-term action plan to move and exclude the sea lions from La Jolla beaches.
The mayor and City Council giving authority for LJTC to execute a contract to implement a sea lion action plan.
LJTC proposing/executing a city-funded contract to plan the seal lion project in detail and implement it, as well as develop cost estimates for the plan.
Nov. 4, 2016
A motion by City Council President Sherri Lightner, which some felt would have largely banned short-term vacation rentals in single-family neighborhoods was defeated Nov. 1 by a 7-2 vote.
Nov. 18, 2016
Termed-out San Diego City Council member and outgoing Council President Sherri Lightner representing La Jolla and District 1 said she won't be running for another political position right away — or be retiring.
“I don't know what my choices will be in the future — I'm not precluding anything,” pledged Lightner. Council member-elect Barbara Bry was inaugurated as District 1’s representative on Dec. 12, 2016.