Category archives for: Opinion

Turf replacement project paying dividends

Dave Roberts

We are loving our new, artificial turf. All 6,000 square feet of it.

Earlier this month, the front and back yards of our Solana Beach home bustled with activity as crews ripped out a very-thirsty lawn and replaced it with nice, artificial turf that looks so real that you wouldn’t know it’s fake until you run your fingers through it.

Recent spotlight on domestic violence brings up questions

The news regularly reminds us that we live in a violent world. Ever since Europeans colonized America, violence has been glorified and its consequences minimized. From movies about the Wild West to “Roadrunner” cartoons to NFL and ESPN highlight videos of “best hits” to violent video games and rap music lyrics, we have become numb to the results of physical aggression. Until the past few months!

Disturbing videos of partner violence and violence towards a child by a professional athlete have understandably horrified people. Although most of us suspected that domestic violence occurred in some homes, seeing the evidence has created a groundswell of disgust.

New county program to help at-risk youth

Dave Roberts

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

That’s the adage, coined by none other than Benjamin Franklin. Considering that he lived until age 84 and he lived at a time when few effective medicines were available to fight all manner of disease, he must have known what he was talking about.

Rant with Randi: Domestic violence is real

Randi Crawford

Do you remember Richard Sherman’s infamous interview with Erin Andrews after the Seahawks NFC Championship win? Sherman set up the interception that sent his team to the Super Bowl, and after the play, he went ballistic in an interview with Erin Andrews, dissing San Francisco 49ers receiver Michael Crabtree. And before you knew it, everyone was calling Richard Sherman a thug.

I want to talk about a real thug and a real issue that needs national attention. Ray Rice beating up his fiancée, and then dragging her out of an elevator, unconscious, like a sack of potatoes. I hope this video is going to help victims of domestic violence gain credibility. We see these men play football, large companies sponsor some, and then we hear about various charges made against them — rape, violence, and even murder. We (the public) never know when it’s real, or whether it’s false accusations. How could we know? We aren’t there!

It’s time for later school start times

Thank you, Marsha Sutton. Thank you for your perseverance in writing about the benefits of later school start times for middle and high school students. As a neuropsychologist, I have followed this research with interest for decades. As a community member, I have read your many columns over the years extolling the benefits of later start times, and I have been dismayed by the response of the San Dieguito Union High School Board. Now, as the parent of a sixth grader who will start at Earl Warren Middle School next year, it is with dread that I anticipate rousting my son every morning for the school’s 7:40 a.m. start time.

Where Are the Girls?

This past August in Los Angeles, Google held the finals for its annual Code Jam computer coding contest. Of the 26 finalists, there were no females.
Last year the San Dieguito Union High School District began offering a coding elective in its middle schools. Ninety-five percent of the students who enrolled were boys. This year the percentage improved somewhat to 88 percent boys. Where are the girls?
Computer Science/Information Technology continues to be one of the fastest growing and highest paid fields. The U.S. Department of Labor projects that by 2020, there will be 1.4 million computer specialist job openings. Yet U.S. universities anticipate that they will produce only enough qualified graduates to fill 29 percent of these jobs.
In light of this information and when I consider what the future might hold for my 10-year-old daughter, the following statistics from the Girls Who Code website ( are equally alarming:
•Despite the fact that 55 percent of overall AP test takers are girls, only 17 percent of AP Computer Science test takers are high school girls;
•In middle school, 74 percent of girls express interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM), but when choosing a college major, just 0.3 percent of high school girls select computer science;
•While 57 percent of bachelor’s degrees are earned by women, just 12 percent of computer science degrees are awarded to women.
This is not OK. Is there something more we can do at our schools to encourage more female participation? I believe there is.
There used to be a similar issue with girls and science, but for the last five years the San Dieguito School District has had a 50/50 gender balance in the AP level math and science courses. Part of the solution is to recognize the problem. Once we shed light on it the School Board can encourage actions that increase enrollment.
Rimga Viskanta

Del Mar: Eight years without a fight?

For the fourth consecutive season, there will be no contested City Council election in Del Mar. Only two candidates stepped forward for two seats, incumbent Terry Sinnott and retired environmental attorney Dwight Worden.
Likewise in Solana Beach and San Marcos, council elections were cancelled because the number of candidates was equal to the number of seats. Doing this saves money — $9,000 in Del Mar and $12,000 in Solana Beach.
The idea of four straight uncontested council elections in Del Mar is remarkable, almost bizarre, in light of the community’s history of polarized, high-stakes, hardball local politics. In the 1970s the Community Plan was adopted in the face of well-organized opposition from real estate, construction and other business interests.
In the 1980s the “greens” recaptured the council from the “grays” with intense council campaigns attached to Measure B (a growth-control initiative inspired by L’Auberge and the Del Mar Plaza shopping center) and the Beach Protection Initiative.
In the subsequent absence of proposals for major commercial development, Del Mar politics cooled. Consensus formed. Fewer people stayed longer on the council. And now, we approach a fourth consecutive uncontested election. Eight years without a political fight in Del Mar. Amazing.
Of course, Del Mar did divide on the Village Specific Plan, an ambitious 2012 proposal to narrow Camino del Mar to one lane each way, install roundabouts, and permit second-floor apartments above downtown businesses. Had voters not defeated that measure, opponents probably would have mounted council campaigns promising to overturn it.
Not that there is nothing to argue about in Del Mar. At one time, I thought the community division over undergrounding utilities might produce one or more council candidates. Likewise the split between dog owners and Little League parents on the Shores School/Park property. And I hear rumblings that some residents believe the city has become too permissive in its regulation of the wave of re-development and extra-large home enlargements now sweeping the community. But, so far, none of these concerns has produced a council candidate.
To his credit, former Del Mar City Attorney Dwight Worden was prepared to run in a contested election. Although by then appointed to the seat, Worden went ahead with his “kickoff party” Sept. 6, taking the opportunity to meet and listen to the concerns of voters. He is one of the most able people ever to seek election to the Del Mar council.
Gordon Clanton teaches sociology at San Diego State University.
He welcomes comments at
Previous columns available at:

Kudos for bringing awareness to the importance of sleep for teenagers

Your perseverance on the subject of implementing later school start times is inspirational because it brings awareness to the importance of sleep in the teenage population of our community, and you provided solutions that can be adopted in our school districts.

Classical music calms canine companions

Dave Roberts

When I return home after a long day, I love being greeted our rescued boxer, Cutie Patootie. When I pet that dog, I can feel the stress sheet right off of me.

Our dogs do so much for us. For all of the comfort they provide, what can we do for them when they face stressful situations? One simple answer is to play classical music.

Dawn Danielson, director of the county’s Department of Animal Services, says that her staff plays music at all three county shelters. Music is proven to calm a distressed dog’s nerves.

San Dieguito Union High School District Superintendent Rick Schmitt’s Monthly Update

Rick Scmitt

On behalf of our Board of Trustees, I want to welcome you and our 12,400-plus students to the 2014-15 academic year. The start of a new school year is always exciting. We have spent the summer eagerly preparing for your student’s return on Aug. 26 and look forward to sharing new learning experiences with each of you. For parents/guardians whose students are entering our schools for the first time, I would like to extend a special heartfelt thank you for the trust you have placed in us.



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