March 12 issue:
Earl Warren sports field should be protected
I am writing to support the Solana Beach community’s efforts to protect the sports field at Earl Warren Middle School. I acknowledge that the current district office is in need of repair. I would even support the construction of a new building either at the district office’s current location or a location that does not rob Earl Warren students and the community of this sports field.
The superintendent and the board have spent a lot of time and money designing a new building in Solana Beach. However, they have not allocated the same time and financial resources into how much it would cost to rebuild on the site they already own or lease a building in an available property within the school district. If they have, they have not shared any of this data. The Solana Beach community is willing to work with the board to consider other options. The board has not invited the Solana Beach community to participate in any of these discussions. We ask that they do so.
There are so many options that need to be considered before the board decides whether to permanently take away the sports field from Earl Warren students and the community. We are ready to work with the board so everyone wins, especially the current and future students of Earl Warren. We hope that, for the sake of the kids they will be willing to do so.
SDUHSD administrative offices should not be relocated to Solana Beach
Hearing what the San Dieguito Union High School District has to say about relocating its administrative offices to Solana Beach has been a real education in temerity. For those who haven’t heard, SDUHSD is proposing to move its administrative offices and build a 25,000- square-foot complex on the lower field of the Earl Warren campus. There are several reasons this is a bad idea.
Let’s start with traffic and safety issues. Everybody knows that in the morning and afternoon hours, Lomas Santa Fe Avenue and Stevens Avenue are a nightmare with cars lined up for long stretches. This is already a big issue in our city, even without the additional traffic of over 100 district employees, parent visitors and meeting attendees that will accompany the new administration complex. This project will put us over the brink. And if that isn’t enough, SDUHSD is trying to pass this off as an “educational center” in order to exempt the project from our local zoning regulations.
Next, there’s the money. This relocation has a $20 million price tag. I just read that there are $134 million of improvements and repairs needed at our schools. Isn’t that a better use of the money? The district proposes to use state matching funds from Prop AA to fund this. I certainly wouldn’t have voted for Prop AA had I known they would use the matching funds to build new district administrative offices with a wellness center and a gym.
In fact, California law states that reimbursement funds (matching funds) shall be used “toward uses permitted by the local bond” and that “… any savings achieved by the District’s efficient and prudent expenditures of these funds… [may be used] for other high priority capital outlay purposes.” The language in Prop AA does not include administrative offices and the savings have not been demonstrated. Poway residents have filed a lawsuit against their district for similar circumstances.
Finally, let’s call out the elephant in the room – the kids. The SDUHSD board seems to have forgotten about them. That lower field has been used for years by Earl Warren students, the local soccer and baseball leagues, and the Boys & Girls Club. It was unavailable during the construction and has been locked ever since.
At the Feb. 27 SDUHSD board meeting, trustee Gibson claimed that the fields are neither used nor needed. I personally know that the Solana Beach Soccer Club made multiple attempts to rent the fields, but SDUHSD refused.
California law mandates that school districts make school facilities available for use by non-profit organizations to promote youth activities, including recreational youth sports leagues.
The board’s comments and actions are dismissive, tone deaf and, most of all, self-serving at the expense of our kids and the community.
Super Tuesday notes
By Gordon Clanton
Through many election cycles, I have urged that you hold your mail ballot until Election Day so you can take into account new revelations and emerging scandals.
The March 3 presidential primary offered another reason to wait: What if you voted early but your candidate subsequently dropped out just before Election Day?
This happened to many thousands who voted early for Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, Michael Bloomberg, or Tom Steyer. Those votes were wasted. They did not affect the outcome.
Next time, hold your mail ballot until Election Day. You always know more the day before the election than you knew a month earlier.
Now to noteworthy local races . . .
Supervisor. Trumpista Republican incumbent Kristin Gaspar surprised many with a good showing (46%) against two strong Democratic challengers. Political newcomer Terra Lawson-Remer (29%) won the second ticket to November, defeating Escondido Councilwoman Olga Diaz (25%).
San Diego mayor. Democratic Assemblyman Todd Gloria, as expected, won 40% of the vote. Republican Councilman Scott Sherman (25%) led Democratic Councilwoman Barbara Bry (24%) for the second slot in November. Very close.
San Diego City Council. Community activist Joe LaCava (26%) led firefighter Aaron Brennan (16%) attorney and Will Moore (15%). Now Moore has overtaken Brennan in late voting.
Congress. The race to replace retiring 20-year Democratic Congresswoman Susan Davis will send two Democrats to November: Sara Jacobs (30%), who ran in 2018 for the Congressional seat now held by Mike Levin, and San Diego City Council President Georgette Gomez (19%).
Del Mar Measure G. As I predicted: In Del Mar’s biggest and most contentious land-use vote since the 1980s, voters rejected (58-42%) the developers’ initiative to rezone part of an ocean bluff top near the west end of Via de la Valle to permit construction of the Marisol resort hotel with time-share condos and restaurants. In the previous column, I urged a No vote because I judged the project to be too large and intrusive.
Otherwise. County Measure A, to require a public vote on new development in rural areas, was defeated 51-49%. And Measure B, to reverse county approval of the Newlin-Sierra development, was defeated 58-42%. Developers are smiling. San Diego Measure C, to expand the Convention Center, fill potholes, and help the homeless, was supported by 64% of voters but failed to reach the required two-thirds majority.
Votes are still being counted.
Gordon Clanton teaches sociology at San Diego State University. He welcomes comments at email@example.com.
March 19 issue:
‘Before the decree’: An evening to remember
A most incredible evening of music took place at the Community Singalong in Solana Beach.
The evening was dedicated to the list of piano pieces chosen by the guest of honor celebrating her 95th birthday!
The song leader/piano player read and without hesitation performed fluidly over the heavenly pieces he saw he was given.
The attendees hummed along to most and ventured some memories that came to mind.
The hour-and-one-half ended with “ Happy Birthday to You “ and “America the Beautiful.”
For this truly ethereal evening, you had to be there.
Lynn Salsberg (attendee)
March 26 issue:
When this war is over, will you be proud of yourself?
The world is at war. What is your response?
Do you pull the covers over your head, eat junk food and watch the news--hoping this will be over soon? Or do you say, “Where do I sign up to help out, how can I make things better?”
If you are scared, then helping others is an excellent way to alleviate anxiety. You can do good for yourself while helping your neighbors. If you say, “There is nothing I can do” or “I don’t have any skills,” then you are lying to yourself.
You can check on your neighbors, you can form a mutual support system in your apartment building--or among the five houses surrounding you. You have unique skills. If you can’t come up with any ideas to battle this war in your own way, then just ask. Ask in this paper or put up a sign in your neighborhood. Imagine if a million signs went up around the country at everyone’s mailbox saying “How can I help?”
Be sure that when this is over you can look back and say to yourself that you stood up as a proud soldier.
Del Mar Heights School: It’s time to build
Over the last few months, you have been bombarded with messages from groups with lovely names like “Save the Fields” and “Play Outside Del Mar” with very altruistic sounding messages.
This small group of people is an extreme, vocal minority in the community trying to convince you through signs, loud voices, constant letters to the editor and on-line petitions, often signed by people that don’t live here (or even in the United States) or don’t even have kids at Del Mar Heights, that they have broader support than they really do. They are not representative of the overwhelming majority of tax- paying residents, parents, teachers and others who truly want the best for our children, those who voted “Yes” on Measure MM and want to see Del Mar Heights school rebuilt now.
The Del Mar Heights community supports the current plan and rebuild of Del Mar Heights School, as planned by the school district to begin in June 2020, and supported by the 12, 000 voters who voted “Yes” on Measure MM on Nov. 6, 2018 (61% of the community). The “we” here includes all teachers and staff at Del Mar Heights, all PTA presidents representing the other 7 schools in the DMUSD, along with the overwhelming majority of people in the district.
Our two daughters actually attend Del Mar Heights. Children at Del Mar Heights currently attend classes on a campus that has been partially condemned due to rodent infestation and dangerous mold. This impacted several classrooms last year disrupting the teaching process. Students occupy classrooms that require buckets to catch rainwater and building materials to be replaced due to mold every time it rains.
More green space (on top of the 92,000 square feet already in the plan) is not the problem nor the priority. To give some context, 92,000 square feet is about the size of two NFL football fields. The current plan includes two little league diamonds.
A local law firm has been retained by someone, the same law firm that was used to delay the Cardiff school district reconstruction, and has begun issuing FOIA requests to the DMUSD, diverting valuable time and resources away from getting our new school project moving. The result in Cardiff was a $500,000 payment used out of district funds to pay for the cost of the settlement, legal fees, and construction delays.
A delay at this stage would cost millions and set the timeline back at least a year; this after almost 2 years of consulting with the community and getting feedback. It’s time to build.
We care about this community and only want what’s best for our kids that attend this school. Let’s come together and make it clear that we will not accept our hard-earned tax dollars being used to pay attorneys rather than build a school.
Frank Stonebanks and Lena Liu
Friends of Del Mar Heights