Letters/Opinion: 2018: Oct. 18, Oct. 25, Nov. 1, Nov. 29, Dec. 13; 2019: March 7, March 21, March 28

Letters: Oct. 18

A KAABOO problem still to solve

It was nice to see the positive reports from the Fair Board on KAABOO. The producers indeed seem to have been very successful in controlling noise. The massive influx of traffic was largely well-managed, minimizing disruptions to the neighborhood in spite of a huge number of cars. Netting $800,000 for the Agricultural District is a good thing.

My one area of concern, however, is the impact of massive “free” parking on nearby residential streets, including mine. Cars were bumper-to-bumper along every curb, sometimes encroaching on driveways. It was like the Fourth of July, but three days long. Attenders must park somewhere, of course, but accommodating them is one of the costs of doing business. The way things stand, these costs (in inconvenience and increased traffic hazard) are being exported to the neighbors.

Free parking and remote lots with shuttles are viable alternatives during the Fair, why not during KAABOO? Perhaps a little of that handsome profit stream could be diverted into solving this problem.

James Summers

Solana Beach

Letters: Oct. 25:

Valid land use concerns ignored by majority council members

The Oct. 15 Del Mar City Council meeting was disappointing.

Convincing, well-articulated concerns from the public, who again urged council to review the current LCPA (Local Coastal Program Amendment), fell upon deaf ears.

While council members Sinnott and Druker validated the public’s concerns through a line of questions, council members Haviland, Parks, Worden and City Planner Amanda Lee dismissed the public outcry, characterizing the public’s requests as “analysis paralysis,” and dismissing the public’s fact gathering as appropriate only for “heart or brain surgery.” This majority council ignored the very relevant concerns raised by the public on this serious land use issue.

Ex-STAC member Stoke reiterated concerns over the outdated FEMA maps council relies upon, which fail to show our seawalls. While FEMA’s policy explicitly states that seawalls weigh heavily into their flood vulnerability assessments, council stuck to their unwarranted fast-track approach neglecting to update FEMA’s maps before filing the LCPA. (Note:STAC is the acronym for Sea-Level Rise Stakeholder-Technical Advisory Committee.)

Ex-STAC Chair Gaasterland articulated indisputable scientific facts that council’s relied-upon ESA models are seriously flawed. In fact, these models account only for sand depletion, while not accommodating for naturally reoccurring, significant sand replenishment that occurs between the depletion events.

Debbie Church presented indisputable evidence that Solana Beach secured substantial replenishment funding from external sources with no LCP (Local Coastal Program), further obviating the need for Del Mar City Council’s LCPA.

Ex-STAC Vice Chair Imperato questioned the legal necessity of council’s decision to record title warning notices on our North Beach and bluff homes.

Ignoring these four significant concerns, council selectively fashioned science and facts, picking and choosing support for their unwarranted rush to submit an unneeded LCPA.

Del Mar citizens submitted hundreds of pages of “red dots” opposing council’s positions on almost every issue before them regarding sea level rise. Yet, council dismissed substantially all of our citizen’s concerns. Ironically, in the year that I served on STAC, exclusive support for council’s decisions came from members of Surfrider Foundation who live outside of Del Mar.

For council members Worden, Haviland and Parks, these public hearings are in “form only” and are not substantive. Many productive Del Mar constituents take time out of their busy lives to articulate valid, fact-based positions for the benefit of council and peers. They inform council with facts and science. Yet, the majority council members repeatedly dismiss the community’s concerns.

John Imperato

Ex-STAC Vice Chair, Concerned Del Mar Resident

KAABOO noise loud and clear

I read the “Reader’s Letter” last week — “A KAABOO problem still to solve” from a gentleman north of the Del Mar Fairgrounds in Solana Beach complaining about KAABOO attendees parking in residential neighborhoods for 3 days. He wrote positively though that “the producers (were) successful in controlling the noise” Hardly! We live exactly 7 miles south of the fairgrounds in Torrey Hills, and the sound for this KAABOO was loud and clear for three days straight inside our house even with the windows closed.

The noise this year was even louder than the first year of KAABOO when organizers claimed the “heat and wind” amplified the sound. We had a family gathering in our backyard on Saturday, Sept. 15, and the thumping and loud music was easily heard here and it was annoying. It’s obvious that the organizers pointed the speakers south and no way is that noise level legal. Last year was the only year we did not hear excessively loud music and thumping from KAABOO. Next year we will go out of town that weekend since obviously the city and organizers have done nothing about KAABOO noise complaints in the past and it was even worse this year.

Carla Mapes

Torrey Hills

Letters: Nov. 1

Proposed Del Mar Resort: Resist rush to judgment until there is a final plan

I’ve lived, worked, and owned property in Del Mar for over 30 years, and have been passionate about trying to reinvigorate downtown. In this spirit, I was excited to hear about the proposed Del Mar Resort at the north end of town. As with any new development, especially one of this scale, it will be critical to address issues of parking, traffic, bluff sustainability and other impacts on our community. However, I would encourage the community to provide early input but resist the rush to judgment and consider the project’s total impact on the community once there is a final plan. Let’s try to assess the project with an open mind and discuss it civilly, evaluating the project based on empirical data rather than emotional hyperbole. We have enough of that today at a national level, and we should be able to do better. The approval process is comprehensive and the project will be vetted by the City of Del Mar and the Coastal Commission, which most of us would agree have a history of being careful to not encourage rampant development. Environmental concerns will be addressed by an Environmental Impact Report and adhere to CEQA.

The fiscal benefits to the community are significant, and the city could do a lot of good with the more than $10 million annual tax contribution (under the current plan) the resort would contribute to city coffers. This could pay for accelerated undergrounding, Shores Park development, downtown streetscape and much more.

Also important is the positive impact these resort guests will have on our downtown shops, restaurants and services. Citizen surveys consistently recognize the downtown as a top resident priority. Lastly, as a regular Dog Beach visitor, I have regretted that this amazing piece of property has been inaccessible to the community. At least with a resort on the property we will be able to enjoy the spectacular views while sipping a glass of wine at sunset!

You may recall the strident arguments against outdoor dining patios, and how they would destroy the fabric of our community. Most of us would agree that they have enhanced the downtown ambiance. At least let’s consider all the pros and cons before we make up our minds.

Linda J. Rock

Solana Beach

Lesson to be learned

There is an unmistakable lesson to be learned from One Paseo regarding the multi-use resort being planned for 16.5 acres on the north-end bluff of Del Mar. Let’s be honest. One Paseo is not Del Mar as we have grown up with it; the rezoned bluff development would not be either.

One Paseo is growing more massive and higher by the day. In a word, it is enormous. Besides being an eyesore, the residents and shops will bring traffic jams along Del Mar Heights, El Camino Real and High Bluff. I will make a prediction. People like me living west of I-5 will change their shopping and restaurant habits to avoid going into the One Paseo traffic mess. I just filled up at the Shell station, thinking that may be close to the last time I go there. And I can imagine that Carmel Valley residents will do something similar.

With the One Paseo mistake to live with, if rezoning of the north bluff is accepted, it will be a crying shame. And Del Mar will have lost some of what it has been and could continue to be.

James Larrimore

Del Mar

Letters: Nov. 29

Don’t fence me in

Some lawyer at the Transit District wants to fence off the Del Mar bluff. Their reason: dudes with surfboards contribute to bluff erosion. Yeah right, and the daily pounding of multi-ton trains 51 times per day is good for the bluff! We can co-exist with the trains and we don’t need no stinking fence. If it’s beach access vs. Amtrak - well, don’t let the door hit you in the caboose NCTD!

Craig A. Nelson

Solana Beach

Letters: Dec. 13

Solana Highlands revitalization issues

Re: Solana Highlands revitalization: At the Dec. 5 Solana Beach City Council meeting, a public hearing and a presentation by the developer were heard. At 11:30, due to the lateness of the hour and the multiple unresolved issues and questions, the city council continued the meeting until Dec. 17.

Several people testified as to the need for more affordable housing for workers and their families. This project, as proposed, will not provide relief for any of that since the affordable housing will be just for seniors. Most workers are less than 55, and the 32-unit building is not designed for families. According to regulations, the age restriction is not discriminatory.

Also revealed at the meeting is that the developer, H.D. Fenton Co., requests waiver of $500,000 in fees due to his addition of the affordable housing building. By including affordable housing, this allows a waiver of the density. By adding one building of 32 affordable housing units, the existing 194 units can be increased to 260.

Included in the proposal is a request to partition off the affordable housing building into a separate parcel. Why do this, unless future plans include selling off this parcel and leaving the developer with only market rate units?

One of the major concerns of most of the speakers was the density issue that will have effects on schools, traffic, parking, etc. for the city and nearby residents. Whether or not this issue will be resolved before the new city council takes over remains to be seen. Hopefully, a reasonable compromise will occur – one that aligns with Solana Beach’s character and mission statement.

Gary Lynes,

Solana Beach

Letters: March 7

Impact of change to North Commercial Zone would be huge, voice your opinion now

Del Mar deadline: For any and all public opinion concerning changing the North Commercial Zone (NC) to 20 units per acre of multi-dwelling residential is March 15. Submit to: City of Del Mar email -

Providing this Environmental Impact Review (PEIR) is approved, there will be no turning back.

All too many of us already know what summer time traffic is like in this zone when it becomes gridlock. Residents and visitors can spend up to an hour in delays, trying to get through town. As a consequence, anyone attempting to get into or out of Del Mar are stopped, doctors on call cannot get out of town, emergency services such as fire and medical cannot reach emergency calls for help within the standard 6-8 minutes required to avoid permanent harm, and this gridlock does have domino effects causing gridlock all over town, including Solana Beach and elsewhere.

Plain and simply, if the zoning laws in what is now North Commercial are changed to 20 units per acre of multi-dwelling residential, our lives will be drastically changed forever. Not only very uncomfortable but also dangerous. As a resident, visitor, emergency service, or a parent trying to get home to their children...this change of zoning laws will change life in Del Mar forever. We do not want our lives to be filled with uncertainty, concerns about getting home, receiving emergency services, etc.

Although Del Mar exclaims this PEIR is just a notion with no commitment. I and many others know this is the first necessary fundamental step in a process to approve 20 units per acre of residential multi-dwellings on all commercial properties in this zone. What this would mean: potentially a 15 percent increase in Del Mar’s population all in a land zone that constitutes approximately 2 percent of all the land in Del Mar. This is life changing, never did we ever want this nor is it in accord with our community plan or character.

Traffic projections for EIRs are typically calculated based upon SANDAG numbers for similar types of zoned areas. Big, big problem is, this area is not like any other covered by SANDAG, their numbers are not relevant nor representative of this area. This zone is unique, this zone has the fair grounds. Again, it would be irrelevant to base traffic decisions upon unlike environments, hence unlike calculations. This Del Mar area is unique and already in trouble. For a real understanding of what this zone is like and how zone change could exacerbate an already bad situation...the City needs to be told to document and base traffic conclusions upon our community’s actual experience, not the erroneous irrelevant SANDAG calculations that are not similar in any way.

Deadline to tell City of Del Mar, their plans are fraught with issues and problems which would cause irreparable harm to everyone’s way of life is March 15.

Our city would be better served explaining to the State that our town cannot tolerate increased traffic and the consequences thereof in this zone.

As a citizen of Del Mar, I believe the health, safety and welfare of all its citizens should come first.

Arnold Wiesel,

Del Mar

Pothole, USA

Rode my bike through Del Mar today and survived - Yay!

Streets of Del Mar have been worse than Caracas for a decade. It’s time to change the name of the town from Del Mar to Pothole. After all there is only one Sea but there are hundreds of potholes. We can always change it back when they are all filled.

Craig A. Nelson

Solana Beach

March 21:

What happened to the joy?

As a college admissions consultant who helps families find best fit colleges for their student, and helps students present their best self in their application, I join nearly everyone who is appalled by the recent scandal in which wealthy parents cheated all kids (theirs included) out of fair college admissions.

All of the college admissions consultants I know do this job to help kids find colleges that will fit their educational and career goals, social needs, and the financial ramifications of an escalating college education. Working with students individually is a time-consuming labor of love. It is not a high paying field. My peers and I typically add low-income and first-generation families to our rosters every year for free, in an effort to level the playing field for these students.

We do this job because we love our students and want to help them have a great experience in college — get the education they need to prepare for their chosen career, have a social experience they want, and do it affordably.

I got into this business because I noticed that too many families look upon their student’s transition from high school to college as all stress and no joy. In fact, this time in a family’s life cycle should be joyous, as they launch their student out of the nest and into their next step in life. I want to help create this experience for families, rather than the anxiety-filled one most families are expecting.

The vast majority of college admissions consultants are good people who have obtained certification, belong to one or more of three trade associations, and abide by the associations’ ethics and standards. Needless to say, the persons involved in the recent college admissions fraud are bad actors. They are not reflective of your typical college admissions advisor.

If you plan to hire someone to guide this process for your family, please make sure they have the credentials, experience, and ethics, as noted above. And know that we are here to support your family by extending to your child our love, hopes and dreams for their future.

Lisa Margolin

College Admissions Counselor

Solana Beach

Rail traffic partially responsible for collapse of bluffs

The report on the the recent collapse of several bluffs along the rail tracks, “Stabilization, not tunnel is first priority for vulnerable bluff top Del Mar tracks” (Feb. 28), correctly attributes one cause of this recent erosion to the heavy winter rains and ground water. While this is very likely true, the report failed to note that rail traffic itself is partially responsible for the collapse of the bluffs.

As reported, on most days 50 or more trains run along these tracks. What was missing from the report is the destabilizing influence of heavily loaded freight trains that typically run at night.

We reside adjacent to though at a somewhat higher elevation than the train tracks. While passenger trains that pass during the day do not cause any notable vibration, this is not true of freight trains. Ours and adjacent homes literally shake during the passage of loaded freight trains. Any analysis by either SANDAG or the North County Transit District as to the causes of bluff collapse that ignores the affect of freight rail traffic is literally putting its head in the sand.

Ralph Reisner

Del Mar

Bipartisan bill would drive down carbon pollution and more

Over a million young people worldwide boycotted school on March 15 to demand that their governments legislate aggressive emissions reductions. Experts tell us that fossil fuel combustion must be cut 50 percent by 2030 to avoid catastrophic climate impacts.

Toward this goal, the bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, H.R. 763, has been reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives. When enacted, this bill will rapidly drive down carbon pollution, save lives, put money in people’s pockets, bolster the economy and innovation, and create jobs. I’ve asked Representative Mike Levin to learn about and co-sponsor H.R. 763 and I recommend that your readers call on their members of Congress to do the same.

The youth are planning another global climate strike on May 3 to appeal to their legislators to preserve a livable world, set aside partisan differences and enact laws such as the U.S. legislation described at

T Todd Elvins, PhD

Solana Beach

Guest opinion:

Save the soul of Del Mar Mesa Preserve

Betrayed. That is how citizens feel when their elected leaders bend to the will of the highest bidder, the biggest donor, and the most influential corporation, instead of the voter.

In 1996, San Diegans citywide made their voices heard via Proposition H by voting to permanently preserve open space while defining where commercial development should go. An 11- acre privately owned parcel, surrounded on three sides by what would become Del Mar Mesa Preserve, maintained its agricultural zoning.

And so that lonely “notch” property on the east side of the Preserve facing Rancho Penasquitos sat in quiet bliss for all to enjoy.

Now Cisterra Development, which purchased that 11 acres in 2014, is trying to rush through a zoning change to build a 450,000-square-foot office/industrial complex and parking tower garage, with no height limit, in defiance of the intent of Proposition H.

They were hoping we weren’t paying attention.

But we were. As were the planning boards of Rancho Penasquitos and Del Mar Mesa, as well as environmental groups like The Friends of Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve and the Sierra Club San Diego, who voted unanimously to oppose this industrial development.

As soon as next month, the San Diego City Council will decide the fate of Del Mar Mesa Preserve. We can only hope that they honor the will of the people. Otherwise, they will approve a zoning change so the well-connected developer can scrape the mesa, bulldoze the chaparral, fill in the canyons, and destroy the habitat for countless plant and animal species in order to erect yet another industrial complex that has no benefit to the community.

Del Mar Mesa Preserve is beloved by hikers, equestrians, bikers, naturalists, and anyone wanting to be inspired standing atop the mesa. The tranquility of the “tunnels,” with year-round streams of water, are a refuge from an otherwise hectic lifestyle. Plant and animal life is abundant. Serenity is ubiquitous.

To destroy these 11 acres is to destroy the soul of Del Mar Mesa Preserve and it must be stopped. Contact your city council representatives and ask them to oppose this zoning change. For more information, please visit Protect our Preserves San Diego’s website

— Anne Harvey is a retired Carmel Valley and Del Mar Mesa Community Planning Board member. Kathryn Burton chairs the Torrey Hills Planning Board.

March 28:

Celebrating the Del Mar way: L’Auberge’s 30th anniversary

Few people represent the Del Mar Way better than Jim Watkins. Many attractive buildings in Del Mar were either built or redeveloped by him including Stratford Square, he remodeled the old gas station on the corner of 13th and Camino Del Mar, and built Canterbury Corner and the Del Mar Inn. The L’Auberge Del Mar is his crown jewel and is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

Some of Jim’s numerous awards include Del Mar Man of the Year, Del Mar Rotarian of the Year, and Del Mar Person of the Year as well as having held numerous non-profit board positions. Although one of the most successful developers in Del Mar, he was instrumental in the creation of the city’s Design Review Board, whose aim is to preserve views and village ambiance. Few have walked both sides of the aisle so skillfully and successfully. His projects at times incited passion and rancor, but ultimately, delight and approval. Few would argue that the L’Auberge Del Mar is not an invaluable asset to downtown Del Mar.

Committee to Celebrate the 30th Anniversary of the L’Auberge