June 22: Letters to the editor

Community Choice and climate change

When 97 percent of all climate scientists agree that climate change is real and caused at least partly by humans (climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus), assertions to the contrary like those by Bill Stoops (in last week’s Solana Beach Sun) are a distraction.

Community Choice Energy (aka Community Choice Aggregation or CCA), also attacked by Mr. Stoops, will allow Solana Beach’s residents and businesses to choose an energy supplier other than SDG&E. Solana Beach will join the eight other CCA’s throughout California that deliver lower-priced electricity, and a greater proportion of renewable energy. For those who wish to stay with SDG&E, they can stay. For those who like the idea of competition, choice, lower rates, and reduced fossil fuel emissions, this opportunity is heaven-sent.

Peter Zahn

Solana Beach

Grateful to live in Solana Beach

My husband and I are delighted to be new residents of Solana Beach, close to family and friends and part of your wonderful community. We really like being able to walk to so many places and especially look forward to our daily walk on the beach to enjoy the beautiful, ever-changing ocean. Everyone we meet is friendly and it is nice to see people of all ages enjoying the great outdoors.

We found helpful information, several times, from the very welcoming staff at the Chamber of Commerce. A very special treat for us was learning about the weekly sing-along at the community center. We enjoyed discovering that, and it is so much fun to be with that wonderful group. We look forward to returning to sing-along as often as possible.

Solana Beach has so much to offer and we are grateful to have the opportunity to live here with all of you.

Herman and Pat van Betten

Solana Beach

June 21 - ASK Day

Gun violence in this country has reached epidemic proportions. Shooting at our Representatives on a baseball field makes national headlines, but let’s not forget that an average 90 Americans, eight of whom are children, are shot every day. The United States leads the world in per capita gun ownership, and the shooting continues with children often the victims: so far this year over 1,700. These disturbing statistics have led to a national outreach to parents. June 21 marked the 17th ASK (Asking Saves Kids) Day, a campaign sponsored by the American Academy of Pediatricians and the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. The ASK Campaign alerts parents to the alarming frequency of unintentional shootings by children and of children due to careless gun storage. It encourages them to always ask if there are guns in the home where their children play and, if there are, to ensure they are locked up. A simple question that can be incorporated into the list of safety questions that parents ask, yet one that could save a life. Parents, please ASK! askingsaveskids.org

Carol Landale

Carmel Valley

Better building designs needed for young adults with special needs

In the past six years, I have mentored and worked with 300 architects and soon to be architects. They look up to me as someone who “walks the talk” in social activism. And many of them reach out and help me when I am in despair with the current state of affairs. Last week was one such time when I first saw the photo of the Adult Transition Facility (ATP) that is being built in the Earl Warren Middle School campus.

Rohit Tak, a humanist, architect and Fulbright scholar, was aghast. “Surely, the Adult Transition Program (ATP) facility must be temporary because you can’t expect young adults to become independent, included and treated respectfully here.” He cynically remarked, “If it looks like a storage portable, then it was designed as one.” In UC Berkeley classrooms, he had heard all about inclusionary designs and how community input is an important stage in the planning process. He was disappointed to learn that the district completely left out the ATP facility in the Master Plans while renovating and upgrading the other district schools using Prop AA funds.

Tak also asked me, “Every individual has a right to the natural wind and light; thus, it’s important to integrate indoor-outdoor spaces in classroom settings. Why was this overlooked?”

I also must add that parents were not happy with the choice of the location. During the June 8 SDUHSD board meeting, over 50 parents had collectively gasped and indicated their annoyance with the strange explanation that the ATP facility was placed outside the fenced middle school because of transportation lines but not near a high school which has major transport lines because the kids are older there.

My sister, Sharmista, who has a background in architecture and is a licensed interior designer, shook her head and refused to accept the justification that electrical wiring and plug points were the reason why the windows were not added in the portables. She rolled her eyes and enlightened me that electrical wiring is not higher than 18 inches from the floor and doesn’t affect window placement.

After reviewing the plan, another architect pointed out that the learning center should have “vocational training labs, speech therapy centers, and more customized learning areas with automated wide doors …”

Every child has a right to fulfill his or her dream. In Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, the Supreme Court ruled that the school districts must give students with disabilities the chance to make meaningful, “appropriately ambitious” progress and is this possible in this poorly planned windowless storage units? Let’s ask SDUHSD to design buildings that provide a better future for young adults with special needs.

Sheila Mitra-Sarkar

Encinitas

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