Vacation rentals were a big item -- and a big problem -- in the La Jolla of 2014.
It was ring out the old, ring in the new for La Jolla in 2014 as the upscale community lost some of its storied businesses — Jonathan’s Market and Burns Drugs among them — but will be gaining some new ones, like Boffo Cinemas, in 2015.
Meanwhile, there were some new developments with “big-ticket items” — seals at Children’s Pool, the Mount Soledad Cross— none of which are likely to resolve the central issues involved: animal rights versus public beach access and the constitutionality of a purported religious symbol on public land.
A month-by-month recap of 2014 in La Jolla:
The city opened a gate in the Cove fence, allowing residents to access the rocks there on New Year's eve with the hope that human access would gradually displace marine mammals and birds and help quell the smell from hell over accumulated bird and marine mammal waste. Jerry Coleman, the voice of the San Diego Padres and the only major league baseball player to see combat in two wars, died Jan. 5.
The rechristened Audrey Geisel University House was rehabbed at an estimated $10.5 million to convert it into UCSD Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla’s home and a venue for special events. The eighth annual Bird Rock home tour showcased some of the finest dwellings throughout the neighborhood on Jan. 25.
La Jolla Brewing Company opened Jan. 30 at 7536 Fay Ave. Stakeholders on short-term vacation rentals began meeting monthly and vetting their concerns at an ad hoc subcommittee of La Jolla Community Planning Association. Though significantly downsized, the controversial Hillel Jewish student center, proposed adjacent to a single-family neighborhood across from UCSD, met with undiminished public opposition by a La Jolla Shores subcommittee, which voted to deny the project’s environmental impact report. Bird Rock Community Council Feb. 4 reported on improvements to La Jolla Hermosa Park, which included picnic tables, benches, charcoal grills and a beach path.
Mike Glance of Moonglow Design/Erling Rohde Plumbing, who has found plumbing and art can go together, was profiled in La Jolla Village News. Kayak concessionaires, optical problems with the Shores’ new lifeguard tower and rules regulating commercial vehicles parked in residential neighborhoods were dealt with by the La Jolla Shores Association. Kevin Faulconer outmuscled opponent Councilmember David Alvarez in a hard-fought mayoral runoff.
Four alternative routes for the proposed Coastal Rail Trail bike-and-hike pathway project were unveiled Feb. 5 at a public workshop. La Jolla Historical Society marked its 50th anniversary with a yearlong, $1 million restoration of historic Wisteria Cottage.
The Mt. Soledad Memorial Association unsuccessfully petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court for a third time to review Mt. Soledad Memorial Association vs. Steve Trunk, et al. and were turned down once more, with justices declining to hear the case until it is resolved in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Bird Rock Community Council heard renewed complaints from neighbors about off-leash dogs running wild at Calumet Park.
La Jolla Village News ran an editorial/cartoon on U-T owner “Papa” Doug Manchester and his penchant for gobbling up independent newspapers. A 30-plus-year battle over historic beach access at Princess Street dragged on as blufftop homeowner Ure Kretowicz vowed to continue the legal battle to prevent people, other than lifeguards during emergencies, to use a beach path crossing his property.
La Valencia Hotel exhibited the work of photojournalist Brian Hamill, including such iconic stars as John Lennon, Frank Sinatra and Muhammad Ali. Shores planners heard about problematic homelessness at Torrey Pines Road pedestrian bridge.
Community activist Bernie Segal, trying to get a musical he’s written produced by La Jolla Playhouse, was profiled by La Jolla Village News. The 10th anniversary of La Jolla Concourse d’Elegance classic car show at the Cove went down the weekend of April 11. The annual La Jolla Half-Marathon on April 27 was sold out. Lifeguards requested the city spend more than $5 million over the next five years to beef up equipment and other life-saving services.
A community memorial service was held April 12 for Rob Hildt, a town council member who succumbed to cancer. Burns Drugs closed its doors after 62 years on April 15. La Jolla Community Planning Association voted 7-6 to approve an AT&T proposal for installation of a cell tower in Cliffridge Park near Torrey Pines Elementary despite fears about the possibility of negative impacts from electromagnetic tower radiation.
On May 9, condo residents near the Mid-Coast Corridor Transit Project, which would bring the trolley from Old Town to UCSD and UTC mall were successful in petitioning the San Diego Association of Governments not to divert the route closer to their complex. The public got a rare behind-the-scenes peek at the Salk Institute with guided tours on April 12 and a presentation by researcher Sreekanth (Shrek) Chalasani.
Stakeholders failed to reach agreement on what to do about short-term vacation rentals other than agreeing it was time to put teeth into the police’s Community Assisted Party Program, which penalizes repeat violations for excessive noise and other infractions. Attorney Steve Haskins was sworn in May 8 as La Jolla Town Council’s new president. Adolfo Fastlicht and Carlos Wellman announced plans for Boffo Cinemas, a boutique theater with indoor dining, to replace Jonathan’s Market with a premium multiplex theater.
Sidewalk cafes became bones of contention between some residents who believe the sidewalks should be free for pedestrians and others who feel increasing the amount of outdoor dining space is more important. La Jolla’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display, threatened yet again by funding problems, was saved at the last minute and the show went on as usual at the Cove. Scripps La Jolla was named one of the nation’s 100 best hospitals. San Diego Community Newspaper Group publisher Julie Main wrote about her trip to Kenya in Africa.
La Jolla Village Merchants Association announced development of LaJollaopoly, a fundraising board game based on the world-famous Monopoly model. La Jolla Village News profiled Orangetheory, a new fitness modality at 7734 Girard Ave., which uses high-tech workouts maximizing metabolic “burn.” Columnist Linda Marrone wrote about the declining numbers of monarch butterflies. Advocates launched a drive to secure disabled-ramp access at Children’s Pool.
Community planners balked at plans to bring bikeshare short-term bicycle rentals to La Jolla. Che Café, a celebrated UCSD vegan eatery and art/music venue, was the topic of an eviction notice. On June 16, Mayor Kevin Faulconer and police Chief Shelley Zimmerman held a community parley at La Jolla Rec Center. The business practices of Schroeder Piano Company in Bird Rock were called into question by mostly local residents who claimed their consignments had been mishandled.
The fifth annual La Jolla International Fashion Film Festival was held July 23-26. La Jolla Village Merchants Association voted unanimously to consider “adopting” the annual Cove Fourth of July Fireworks Display. Bird Rock Community Center was updated by the city on plans to repair Midway Bluff. La Jolla Shores Association vetted neighborhood concerns about increasing noise and congestion from commercial kayaking.
Boffo Cinemas’ design plans and George’s at the Cove restaurant terrace expansion were approved by La Jolla Planned District Ordinance. A plan to raise the city’s minimum wage incrementally to $11.50 an hour by 2017 was passed by the City Council and later rescinded, with the issue to be placed on a future election ballot. A partnership agreement unanimously approved by San Diego Unified School District gave La Jolla Cluster Association’s five schools greater flexibility and autonomy. Local Israelis and Palestinians renewed dialogue amid conflicts in the war-torn Middle East.
Tara Moore, former Jack’s La Jolla bookkeeper, was convicted of embezzlement Aug. 4. She did not testify during her seven-week trial. Overriding objections by beach-access proponents, the California Coastal Commission Aug. 14 unanimously endorsed a five-year ban on public access of Children’s Pool during the marine mammals’ five-month pupping season. On Aug. 18, the City Council overrode Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s veto of a proposal to phase-in a higher minimum wage over the next three years.
The suicide of beloved comedian Robin Williams was lamented by La Jolla Village News editor Martin Jones Westlin, who commented on the movie star’s connections to La Jolla. These included his participating in the San Diego Challenged Athletes Foundation’s annual October triathlon fundraiser.
SeaWorld announced plans to double the size of its orca environment in San Diego. The Village of La Jolla was a target of city code enforcement cleanup efforts to eliminate illegal signage and intrusions into the public right-of-way. Plans were set in motion to “polish the jewel” as merchants association board member Nancy Warwick announced a new fundraising campaign, Sparkle & Shine, involving banners to generate funds to clean sidewalks and beautify the Village.
The sixth annual La Jolla Art & Wine Festival went off Oct. 11-12 in the Village, with the addition of stein-holding contest. California Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation banning plastic shopping bags starting in the summer of 2015. Pillage the Village Halloween trick-or-treating, co-sponsored by La Jolla Village Merchants Association and La Jolla Real Estate Brokers Association, got bigger and better with more downtown merchant participation. Cove stench from marine mammal and bird waste at the Cove continued to be a problem and an issue of public debate. Beach-access proponents Friends of Children’s Pool filed a suit in Superior Court Oct. 10 alleging city mismanagement of the pool and violation of constitutionally protected ocean access.
I-5 traffic was halted for a time as UCSD students protested the Ferguson, Mo. decision not to indict a white police officer in the fatal shooting of a black teenager. San Diego City Council Nov. 18 unanimously endorsed a water recycling program to provide one-third of San Diego’s potable water by 2035, reducing reliance on costly imported water. La Jolla Rec Center celebrated its 100th anniversary. Larry Himmel, TV newscaster and former stand-up comic at La Jolla’s Comedy Store, succumbed to cancer at age 68.
Bird Rock Community Council heard complaints about “mansionization” in the neighborhood. Shores merchants and neighbors complained of disruptions caused by ongoing infrastructure replacement along the small commercial strip on Avenida de la Playa.
On Dec. 5, famed wildlife photographer Thomas Mangelsen visited his Images of Nature Gallery, at 7916 Girard Ave., to clue the public in on his latest retrospective book, “The Last Great Wild Places.” La Jolla Community Planing Association nixed a revamped proposal for a manse on Whale Watch Way as well as voting down a proposed Alzheimer’s unit in the former Chopra Center building downtown.
The 57th installment of the La Jolla Christmas Parade & Holiday Festival delighted residents and visitors on Dec. 7. The five-month ban of humans at Children’s Pool took effect Dec. 15. Village merchants were informed by neighbors of a new problem, recycling scavengers pillaging the Village and parking their smelly, leaky open-bed trucks in nearby residential neighborhoods such as Park Row.