Bob Whitney’s response to Councilwoman Lightner's letter reveals his lack of understanding of the project review process. Because Ms. Lightner voted to require the Whitney mixed-use building to conduct a full environmental impact report (EIR) does not mandate that she recuse herself from a subsequent vote on the Whitney project. Whitney assumes Ms. Lightner is no longer impartial. To the contrary, the EIR will provide all the council members far more information aiding in its decision as to what is best for the La Jolla Shores commercial area, and for La Jolla and San Diego as a whole. Many valid questions were raised concerning Mr. Whitney's project and an EIR may well lead to mitigating measures that improve the project. Ms. Lightner should be commended for her efforts to obtain more information so that she and the other council members can make the best decision for the community. The fact is that the City Council voted 6-1 to require an EIR. Are those six members of the City Council who voted for the EIR barred from voting on the project in the future? No. Mr. Whitney’s position is absurd.
Developers used to file lawsuits against those who objected to their projects in order to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening the critics with the cost of legal defense until they abandoned their criticism or opposition. But the California legislature deemed these lawsuits to violate an individual’s First Amendment right to free speech and to petition the government. Such a lawsuit is called a SLAPP action — strategic lawsuit against public participation. In 1992, the California legislature passed an “anti-SLAPP” statute to allow a defendant to make a motion to strike a complaint where the complaint arises from activity exercising the rights of petition and free speech. Now that anti-SLAPP actions can impede a developer’s abuse of the legal system, some developers, including Mr. Whitney, are pursuing another avenue to chill opposition to projects — get the city to issue code violations against those who object to projects being processed by the Development Services Department (DSD).
Whitney asserts that he did not file the complaints about 2226 and 2210 Avenida de la Playa. But, he has been closely involved with every aspect of his project including the persecution of those opposed to it – with multiple emails to the city that track his participation in the very actions where he claims innocence. Apparently, he learned this tactic from one of his cohorts, a local unlicensed “architect” who also files complaints about people who object to his projects. This cohort has made it his business to foster a close relationship with key members of the city staff who can be tapped to go after opponents. It is a manipulation of the system. A city staff member admits that he could find a code violation in every house in his area, which includes La Jolla and Pacific Beach. Despite this pervasive existence of violations, the city has "selectively persecuted" five individuals named by Whitney and his cohort who vocally objected to projects in La Jolla Shores. Mr. Whitney is, at minimum, a co-conspirator regarding violating a neighbor’s constitutional right to object to projects.
But Mr. Whitney did not stop there. The Naegles felt blackmailed because Whitney threatened to expose alleged code violations to the Neighborhood Code Compliance Department unless the Naegles agreed that Calle Clara was an alley, not a street, thereby allowing Whitney to avoid the visibility triangle requirement for a street and forcing a redesign of his entire project. Mr. Whitney accused a trustee of the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) of lying and being unethical about the Whitney project. Such was not the case. The trustee in question has a reputation for maintaining the highest standard of professional conduct and has greater expertise regarding the applicable municipal codes than do many of the city employees at DSD. Mr. Whitney attacked the trustee solely because the trustee opposed the project for being far too large for the neighborhood. The City Council and other trustees of the LJCPA overwhelmingly agreed. Mr. Whitney also sued the LJCPA raising issues regarding how the LJCPA reviewed his project. Mr. Whitney was forced to dismiss his complaint for lack of merit. Mr. Whitney is out of step and out of line. Now he writes letters to the editor complaining about code violations of neighbors who opposed his project, violations that don’t exist, have been corrected or are in the process of being corrected.
Finally, Mr. Whitney claims that his own code violations have been “grandfathered in.” He has no off-street parking for his residential property. The city required Carol Sasaki to provide off-street parking by converting her back room to a garage. Both Carol Sasaki's building and Whitney's were built in the same year, 1951. Two architects have agreed that the patio in the back of Whitney's property looks like it must have been a parking space. Perhaps it is time to call upon NCCD to look into what seems blatant code violations of neighborhood code by Whitney. Carol Sasaki did lose her building and former residence because of her code compliance issue — she could not afford to bring her building into conformance and continue to support the orphanages she had previously committed to support.
Mr. Whitney should stop his endless bloviating and get on with his EIR.
Rob Whittemore, Grace McCormack, Myrna Naegle, Dick McCormack and Hetty De Jong, La Jolla
Motorcyclists are menace to La Jolla
As someone who lived on the Upper Eastside of Manhattan, Brentwood in LA, I find La Jolla to be surprisingly decrepit. What is with the motorcycles here? Riding at midnight in gangs doing wheelies?
San Diego is so concerned with traffic lights that it puts up the ticket record at many intersections. What are they doing between those lights?
The potholes are disgusting. Why not park one cop at the intersection of Torrey Pines and Almhurst? Watch every night as motorcycles race through at 50-plus mph, speeding and doing wheelies as if they are special.
Why not ticket these fools and pay for the fixing of the decaying roads?
And to the motorcyclists, you are a bunch of wusses. You ride in a quiet community with the most tepid people and climate in the country. Why don’t these fools head to NYC and try their b.s. there?
Very disappointed in the Jewel.
Michael Klein, La Jolla