La Jolla Village News’ Year in Review: Children’s Pool upgrades, scooters, illegal ivory, and short-term rentals
La Jolla Shores recently came in at No. 22 on TripAdvisor’s ‘Top 25 Beaches’ in the U.S. Pacific Beach received some notice as well, ranking No. 20. A vast majority of beaches on the annual list were located in the Southeast, with Clearwater Beach, Fla., taking the No. 1 position. Several other Florida beaches were on this list as well... and, to be expected, three Hawaiian beaches. THOMAS MELVILLE / VILLAGE NEWS
Tiger Woods his out of the rough on hole No. 4 during his round on Sunday, Jan. 28 at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in La Jolla. / Photo by Thomas Melville
There was a lot up for debate in 2018. Whether it was trying to get a handle on the seemingly overnight invasion of dockless scooters and bikes, or fighting for more balance within the mayor’s proposal for short-term rentals, residents of La Jolla won a few battles. And those victories were intertwined with the completion of some long-overdue projects like upgrades to the Children’s Pool Plaza, and White Sands Retirement Community’s multi-million dollar renovation.
All in all, it was a good year.
• The trial began for the former Marine accused of killing two UC San Diego students in a 2015 crash. Jason Riley King was driving drunk when he struck a car carrying five UC San Diego students; Anne Baldock, 24 and Madison Cornwell, 23, died instantly, and the three other students were injured but survived. The trial lasted 10 days, and the jury ultimately acquitted him of murder and convicted him of two counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.
• A La Jolla couple was charged with misdemeanor safety code violations after residents of an apartment complex they maintained reported the building had bathroom leaks, inadequate heating, insects, rodents, and improper wiring.
• Tiger Woods made his 2018 debut at the Farmers Insurance Open at historic Torrey Pines Golf Course, the host site of the 2008 and 2021 U.S. Opens.
• La Jollan Fernando Aguerre was credited with playing a major role in making surfing a part of the summer Olympics, which will be held in Tokyo in 2020.
• Pura Vida Bracelets, a La Jolla-based company that caught the eye of celebrities like Ellen Degeneres and David Beckham, was sued for fraud by a former employee. She claimed that the bracelets were actually produced in El Salvador, not in Costa Rica like the company insinuates.
• Construction began for the viaduct that will carry the Blue Line along Genesee Avenue as part of an 11-mile extension of the trolley line from downtown to University City.
• A study titled part 150 was conducted to evaluate flightpath improvements and noise reductions in and around San Diego International Airport. Residents from the Point to La Jolla have complained about an increase in noise for the past couple of years.
• The Dan McKinney Family YMCA completed its $21 million expansion and renovation project, which included a three-story play structure and slides, a wellness center, a steam room and other amenities.
• UC San Diego was named the No. 1 surf college in the U.S. by Surfer Magazine.
• UC San Diego launched its bike-share program with Spin, a leading bike-share company that offered a fleet of orange-colored smart-bikes with GPS tracking.
• Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer announced that San Diego Police Department Assistant Chief David Nisleit would be appointed as the City’s next police chief, replacing Chief Shelley Zimmerman, who retired in March after 35 years on the force.
• The La Jolla Village News went out and sampled all the different kinds of pizzas in La Jolla in honor of National Pizza Day on Feb. 9.
• La Jolla Shores came in at No. 22 on TripAdvisor’s "Top 25 Beaches’ in the U.S." list.
• The annual Fourth of July fireworks display at La Jolla Cove was cancelled due to ongoing fundraising problems. "It’s really been part of our tradition,” said Deborah Marengo who spearheaded the event. "So, it’s just really sad to see that go.”
• A petition to end the "Films of Woody Allen" course at UC San Diego, due to his allegations of rape, was nixed by the school’s academic senate. They voted to continue offering the course because removing it would "undermine both the value of free inquiry and the associated rights of faculty to engage in such inquiry by choosing their course content.”
• La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc. voted against allowing dockless scooters in the community, even though the item wasn’t on the meeting agenda. “How do we stop this invasion of our sidewalks?” asked Sally Miller of LJPB.
• La Jolla High reflected on its own safety issues following the aftermath of the Parkland school mass shooting in Florida. Things like fixing broken blinds and hard-to-lock doors in classrooms were among some of the suggestions.
• The La Jolla Town Council hosted a meeting of the newly formed San Diego Coalition of Town Councils’ STVR Working Group where members discussed recommendations for tightening rules and enforcement governing the placement and operations of short-term vacation rentals.
• San Diego Judge Randa Trapp heard arguments for both sides as to whether or not assessed property under the La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District would receive any special benefit “over and above that” received by the general public.
• The University of California San Diego received $4.6 million in charitable gifts from more than a dozen descendants of Edward W. Scripps to fund the placement of the railing on the Ellen Browning Scripps Memorial Pier and the reconstruction and modernization of the Center for Coastal Studies.
• La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc. announced that the City waived the summer construction moratorium to hasten construction on the Children’s Pool Plaza beautification project, which includes walkway improvements, double-seat walls, shade trees, and gazebo repairs.
• James Niebling announced he would be resigning as president of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association. “I have truly enjoyed giving back to La Jolla by the Sea as a board director for the past seven years,” he said.
• Daniel Dorado, the owner of La Jolla Italian restaurant Voce Del Mare, pleaded not guilty Monday to 14 felony counts of sexually assaulting four women.
• Renowned actor, author, and activist George Takei spoke on his experience in the Japanese-American internment camps from World War II and his life as a pop culture icon and entertainer at UC San Diego.
• Residents voiced concerns for a loophole in the city’s development regulations that makes it so developers can acquire permits to tear down and rebuild a new home in as little as a day. "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.
• Representatives from three dockless bike companies – Limebike, Ofo and Mobike – attempted to justify their business models before the La Jolla Village Merchants Association. Attendees argued that the bikes are being used illegally and without proper notification.
• White Sands Retirement Community completed its $20 million renovation, which started in 2016 and included updates of its main lobby and chapel, a new elevator, bistro and bar, and a newly reimagined library.
• A judge turned down a request to dismiss the embezzlement case against Cindy Greatrex who is accused of stealing $67,935 from the La Jolla Park & Recreation Inc. Board while she was its president. She pleaded not guilty.
• La Jolla Village Merchants Association elected Alisha Hawrylyszyn Frank, a life coach with Fiercely Optimistic, as its new president.
• A red tide offshore San Diego brought a spectacular display of bioluminescence to beaches.
• Jewish Family Service of San Diego raised a record-setting $1.25 million at its annual Heart & Soul Gala at the Hyatt Regency La Jolla at Aventine.
• New ballot initiative “Yes! For a Better San Diego” proposed a 42-year increase in the city's visitor tax to fund the convention center expansion, homelessness programs, create new jobs, continue road repaving and other infrastructure improvements.
• The Center for World University Rankings named the University of California San Diego the globe’s 20th best university out of 2,000 universities worldwide.
• In partnership with Friends of Rose Canyon, University City Girl Scout Troop 4176 caught almost 200 crayfish Rose Canyon as part of their Girl Scout Bronze Award project.
• District 1 Councilmember Barbara Bry pushed for a styrofoam ban. "It’s a known carcinogen and pollutant,” she said of the chemicals found in styrofoam.
• Holocaust survivor Rose Schindler received a high school diploma from La Jolla Country Day for her years of preaching a message of positivity and endurance in the presence of evil to schools throughout San Diego County.
• District 1 Councilmember Barbara Bry supported the scooter boardwalk ban the City Council voted down. Bry agreed to form a City Council committee to explore the creation of a permit and fee system for dockless companies operating citywide.
• Mayor Kevin Faulconer released his much anticipated new regulations on short-term vacation rentals that included charging cost-recoverable fees to administer licenses and enforce code violations, establishing a “Good Neighbor” policy, hiring additional staff for complaints about nuisance properties and implementing a per-night fee that would generate an estimated $3 million annually.
• U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (CA-52) defended his co-sponsorship of the Keeping Families Together Act, which would have immediately halted separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border, as the right thing to do.
• A random survey found La Jollans overwhelmingly favored a visionary proposal by contractor Tom Grunow to restore the La Jolla Cultural Zone by “greening” it and making it more walkable. “This is a good idea that will invigorate La Jolla's Cultural District, improve the usability of the Rec Center, and help ease our parking shortage,” said landscape architect Jim Neri.
• The La Jolla MAD decision was reversed. San Diego Judge Randa Trapp revisited her previous ruling on the MAD’s unconstitutionality, and the second time around, she determined the benefits association “had no standing in the case.”
• La Jollans were mostly delighted by the City Council’s July 16 vote defeating Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s more lenient short-term rental proposal. A landmark counterproposal that favored stricter regulations allowing primary-residence-only rentals with a six-month maximum, was co-authored by Council members Barbara Bry of District 1 and Lorie Zapf of District 2.
• Work began on three reservoirs connected with La Jolla Heights Natural Park near La Jolla Country Club, and residents spoke up about their concerns regarding truck traffic, noise, dirt and potential loss of native habitat and open space.
• San Diego was named the most scenic West Coast city in an Expedia poll.
• La Jolla’s serial lobster poacher pleaded guilty to charges that he violated a court order by unlawfully removing 12 spiny lobsters from the South La Jolla State Marine Reserve. Xuan Lam Hoang was ordered to serve 45 days in custody and placed on three years of probation.
• Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Council president pro tem Barbara Bry reopened Doyle Community Park in University City following a period of much-needed equipment upgrades and park enhancements.
• La Jolla was named one of "America’s 25 Best Beach Towns" by Fodor’s Travel.
• The water off La Jolla was 78.8 degrees, according to measurements taken by research scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, a record-setting warm for San Diego. It was nine degrees above the typical temperature for that time of year.
• Susan Botticelli was named the new board of advisors chair of the La Jolla YMCA.
• A new state-of-the-art Robotics Lab was delivered to the French American School in La Jolla.
• Consideration of Children’s Pool’s proposed historical designation was an action item on La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc.’s August agenda, which would "make the facility eligible for both public and private grant money to fix it up,” according to architectural historian Diane Kane.
• The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego’s director and CEO defended the institution against a claim by international architects and historians who’ve branded work, which will destroy the museum’s post-modern entryway, as “a tremendous mistake.” The addition — which will quadruple its current gallery space from 10,000 to about 40,000 square feet — was scheduled to begin in October.
• The San Diego Airport Authority launched a new mobile app that provided members of the public an easy-to-use, no-cost option for submitting an aircraft noise complaint.
• San Diego-based Climate Action Campaign held a forum on Community Choice Energy at the University of California San Diego. This model, which was approved by the state in 2002, could ultimately provide ratepayers with the option to choose where their power comes from.
• I Love A Clean San Diego mobilized 7,000 volunteers at 106 cleanup sites removed an estimated 130,000 pounds of trash and debris including a disco ball, 641 golf balls, a snowboard, and fake eyelashes.
• Barbara Beltaire, owner of the Barbarella Restaurant & Bar in La Jolla, and known for her seasonal supernatural Halloween decorations, retired to devote her full attention to her new children’s charity, I Love You So So Much. "It is 100 percent individual gift donations to foster care, the elderly and canine companions,” said Beltaire.
• La Jolla realtor Kara Kay announced she will be competing on the CBS-produced competitive reality TV series “Survivor: David vs. Goliath.”
• San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Chief Colin Stowell announced James Gartland as the new lifeguard division chief. “We have some of the best public safety professionals in the country so it should come as no surprise that we hired one of our own to lead our lifeguard division,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer.
• Peter Ogle, head coach of the La Jolla Country Day School’s girls volleyball team, retired after 41 years. His combination of caring and intensity led the team to 733 wins, 380 losses, three Coastal League championships, seven CIF championships, four Southern California Regional championships, and three state championships.
• City Council voted 5-3 to ban the use and distribution of styrofoam citywide.
• La Jolla Shores Association celebrated Scripps oceanographer Walter Munk’s 101st birthday. Munk is world renowned for showing why one side of the moon always faces the Earth, pioneering research on the relationship between winds and ocean circulation, and much more.
• Extra City pickup was added in La Jolla Shores to alleviate overflowing trash, but Janie Emerson, chair of the La Jolla Shores Association, said, "the city still has not moved two trash cans that have been causing the problem.”
• Casa de Mañana resident Len Sandberg, 90, won the 148-pound-and-under Powerlifting Bench Press World Championship at Harrah’s Resort and Casino in Laughlin, Nev.
• A judge turned down a prosecution motion for the removal of Cindy Greatrex from any community boards as a condition of bond while she awaits an embezzlement trial for grand theft in the loss of $67,935 while she was president of the La Jolla Park & Recreation Inc. Board.
• City Council voted 8-1 to rescind a short-term vacation rental ordinance it passed in July. The re-vote was forced by a recently successful drive by a vacation rental coalition to put the measure on a future election ballot.
• Two years after Ure Kretowicz conceded the public’s right to access the cobblestone beach below his property at 7957 Princess St., a group of neighbors surrounding Kretowicz’s property started campaigning against restoring public access there.
• The City of San Diego said previously reported problems with overflowing trash in La Jolla Shores have been properly addressed and resolved. “Trash containers some believed had not been moved, were in fact relocated in late September,” said City PIO Paul Brencick Sr., adding the City’s Environmental Services Department.
• Criminal charges have been filed against the Carlton Gallery at 1144 Prospect St., its owner, and an employee for trafficking more than 300 pieces of ivory and items containing ivory.
• La Jolla’s Tiare Thompson won her first World Surf League’s Live Like Zander Junior Pro surf competition.
• A celebration was held for the improved Children’s Pool Plaza. La Jolla Parks and Beaches and Casa de Mañana co-hosted the event that honored the 8-year-old project. “This has been a precious space in La Jolla since 1931,” said Ann Dynes, chair of La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc. "It’s also become a precious space to a lot of our visitors. Now it has been revamped to accommodate all of the visitors.”
• La Jolla Parks and Beaches, Inc. heard from landscape architect Jim Neri about plans to recreate a historic belvedere at Windansea off Neptune Place near Rosemont Street that was destroyed in the early ’80s.