Category archives for: Uncategorized

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.

The Wine Sellar & Brasserie offers high-quality wine, food, storage space and more

Lori and Gary Parker are celebrating The Wine Sellar’s 30th anniversary.  Photo by Bill Wechter, UT San Diego

The Wine Sellar & Brasserie will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year. Like any fine vintage, the Sellar has simply gotten better with age, adding onto its public wine storage facility as customers requested more and more.

Now it is much more than just storage space: The WineSellar & Brasserie is a full-service wine shop, a fine dining destination in the upstairs Brasserie, and a spot for happy hours and tastings at the downstairs Casual Side. The WineSellar and Brasserie also offers a unique monthly wine club and off-the-beaten track wine tour excursions to wine regions such as Spain, France, South Africa and, next year, Italy.

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.

Del Mar residents remember 9/11

volunteers 3

For the past 13 years, Del Mar residents have placed 3,000 flags at Powerhouse Park to remember those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

One Paseo: The tide has turned!

Thank you Carmel Valley, for your great turnout at the Aug. 28 Carmel Valley Planning Board meeting. More than 400 of you attended to voice your opposition to this One Paseo, many of you standing for hours to add your applause as we exposed Kilroy’s many incorrect statements and exaggerations.

How Carmel Valley really feels

I was thrilled to see how many people attended the Aug. 28 Carmel Valley Planning Board meeting to express their opposition to Kilroy’s One Paseo project. County Supervisor Dave Roberts even showed up to voice his concerns.

Support for One Paseo

This debate has too often become monopolized by the loud and abrasive voices of those who not only oppose One Paseo, but really oppose any change or growth within our community.



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