Three members of Code Pink, a nationwide anti-war group, staged a demonstration May 18 outside the La Jolla Farms home of the CEO of General Atomics, a local nuclear energy and defense firm. Intended to protest the production of predatory war drones and represent their “voiceless victims,” two of the three women wore blindfolds inscribed with “stop drone attacks.”
Code Pink activist Nancy Macias said the demonstration’s goal was to “bring attention to the fact that General Atomics needs to be held accountable for manufacturing what are more or less weapons of mass destruction that kill innocent civilians in the Pakistan and Afghanistan regions, in addition to their intended targets.” Macias said she sent a letter to the CEO requesting a personal meeting, but has not received a response.
San Diego Police Department Capt. Christopher Ball said that while laws exist to prohibit picketers from targeting specific residences, “an individual’s First Amendment right to free speech pretty much trumps local ordinances,” he said. “Our job is to try to balance that with someone’s right to feel safe in their own home.”
Code Pink held another, slightly larger demonstration at the General Atomics Headquarters on May 19 at 8 a.m.
Hanging baskets to receive makeover
Contractors bidding to serve as the vendor who will replace 122 of the 236 hanging baskets that adorn La Jolla Village’s streets have until May 21 to make their case. Once the bid period closes, the city’s Purchasing and Contract Department will select the lowest qualified bidder, who will then be responsible for purchasing the planter bowls, filling them, hanging them throughout the Village and maintaining them as necessary for one year. At that point, the city can decide to renew the contract for up to four additional one-year periods.
“We haven’t decided which baskets will be replaced first, but it will most likely be those in the core of the Village where most tourists go first,” said Alicia Martinez-Higgs, a community development specialist charged with the administration of the La Jolla Business Improvement District. “Our goal is to have them installed before July 4.”
The replacement planters will be 20 inches in diameter, Martinez-Higgs said, which is slightly larger than the 16-inch baskets that currently line Village streets. They will be sturdier than the existing baskets and will contain succulents and other insect-resistant, drought-tolerant plants.
Promote La Jolla board members, who have been pursuing the project for several months, estimate that each basket will cost approximately $250 to maintain for one year, for a total of $59,000 if all baskets are eventually replaced.
Scripps Institute awarded new vessel
The Scripps Institute of Oceanography will be receiving a new class of research vessel called an ocean class ship from the U.S. Navy.
This state-of-the-art vessel will be 200-feet-long and will be able to operate continuously for 40 days at sea. The yet-to-be-designed and built ship will be used to conduct research in ocean acoustics, which aids the Navy in submarine and anti-submarine warfare. It will also enable scientists to further research of global climate change, as it will be equipped with state-of-the-art mapping and exploration equipment. The vessel will feature fuel-efficient engines that meet California’s clean air standards.
Scripps currently has four oceanographic research vessels, more than any other research institution in the country.
The vessel will benefit many researchers due to the collaboration of Scripps with academic institutions and national laboratories throughout the U.S. The ocean class ship should be operational by 2015 and the Navy will pay more than $88 million to design and construct it.
Beach bash to benefit autistic youngsters
The nonprofit Community Coaching Center will host its annual Beach Bash to benefit children and teenagers with autism nationwide on May 22.
Guests will groove to live music by Lady Dottie & The Diamonds, shop at silent and live auctions, enter raffles, and enjoy appetizers and beverages at a VIP happy hour. The nonprofit organization hopes to raise $30,000 to support services like the Summer Inclusion Program for youth with autism, and to top last year’s event, which attracted 450 guests and $27,000 in donations.
A VIP reception will commence at 7 p.m., with $35 tickets available for pre-sale only at (858) 603-7344 or www.communitycoachingcenter.org. General admission begins at 8 p.m., and the $15 tickets can be purchased in advance or at the door. The event will last until 11 p.m. and will take place at Prospect Bar, 1025 Prospect St., suite 210.
Riford Center offers cooking classes
The Riford Center invites guests to sign up for a series of cooking classes in its brand-new, state-of-the-art kitchen throughout the months of June and July. The first class features a menu by Swiss chefs Urs and Ursula Baumann, and the first 20 guests to sign up will receive the cooking demonstration in addition to lunch. Each class costs $45 per person, and classes are available on June 11, June 18, July 9, and July 16 from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. To register, call (858) 459-0831 or visit www.rifordcenter.org.