Opinion/Letters to the Editor April, May 2023

Letters image
(File photo)

April 6 issue:

We must be proactive and strengthen the global health system

Last week, the US Senate passed a resolution to end the COVID-19 emergency order that has been in place since 2020. It appears as though we’ve convinced ourselves COVID-19 is a thing of the past and we are adamant about “returning to normal.”

However, the United States is part of a global community that continues to be severely impacted by COVID-19; cases continue to rise even as tracking stops and only 28.5% of the population in low-income countries has received at least one dose of a vaccine. COVID-19 has also impacted other health goals and the global economy: since 2020, long-standing global health progress such as reducing tuberculosis has stalled if not reversed and we are seeing various shortages in many products such as life-saving drugs.

Our new normal is a time when novel diseases are becoming more prevalent due to the effects of climate change and increased exposure to infectious agents. And as we have seen, public health systems are woefully unprepared here and abroad. Disease can occur anywhere, so we must be prepared everywhere.

To address health emergencies, we must be proactive and strengthen the global health system; this means building healthcare infrastructure and working with communities abroad. The Paul Farmer Memorial Resolution focuses on addressing inequities and shifting US global health policy towards effective, efficient, and proven methods.

We urge you to call on your representatives Scott Peters and Mike Levin to support the PEF Memorial Resolution and guide Congress toward a 21st-century global health strategy.

Samiha Reza

Carmel Valley

April 13 issue:

Thank you to all for making the new improved Tot Lot a reality

The day has finally arrived, April 16, 2023. Friends of the Powerhouse (FOP) are honored to announce the Grand Opening of Del Mar’s Tot Lot nestled within the scenic Powerhouse Community Park. It’s been a long wait for families with young children, and we thank all of you for your patience. It is a very special place for many parents, not only because it keeps our youngest children entertained, but also because of the fresh ocean breeze and relaxing atmosphere in this beautiful location where busy moms, dads and grandparents can take a deep breath and feel as if they are away on vacation.

Grand Opening at the Powerhouse Park
Grand Opening at the Powerhouse Park
(Marzena Poniatowska


I, myself, cherish a lot of sweet memories with my kids who loved playing there just a few short years ago. My heart is full knowing that — thanks to all of our amazing donors — new parents will experience the same joy soon. As time goes by so quickly, we try to preserve it as much as possible with memories, pictures and videos. Del Mar’s Tot Lot is definitely the place you want to share with your extended family and friends, either via social media, photos, albums or videos.

Thanks to the commitment of FOP and many generous donors and community contributions, the Tot Lot underwent a major renovation with new safety code requirements in place. Soon, new slides, swings, climbing equipment and many more treats will be happily enjoyed. Be sure to notice our new donor board decorated in personally handmade tiles by the community’s youngest and oldest citizens, surrounded by engraved bricks (there are still few available for purchase) with special messages and names of our locals.

Thank you to all for making this new improved Tot Lot a reality. Come and see us at our Grand Opening Ceremony, April 16, 1-4 p.m. There will be lots of fun for everyone. Crafts, dance, “Giggle with Bubbles,” face painting, kites, food, kids’ drinks, good cheer!”

Marzena Poniatowska

Carmel Valley

April 20 issue:

Guest commentary:

Earth Day: Celebrate the progress, heed the warnings

By Councilmember Joe LaCava, City of San Diego District 1

The 53rd Earth Day is just around the corner, and it’s time to celebrate the progress we’ve made while heeding the warnings that we still have a long way to go. While I work on many challenges facing our community, Earth Day deepens my motivation to continue working toward sustainability.

The climate crisis is real, and we need to take it seriously. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just released a report projecting global temperatures will continue to rise up to 1.5 °C by the early 2030s. If we don’t act, we will continue to see rising sea levels and extreme weather patterns. Such changes have already caused harm in San Diego.

The hopeful news? It’s not too late. As your councilmember, my work reflects the feedback I hear from the community and my values. Since taking office, I have been actively involved in the city’s Climate Action Plan and Resilient SD Plan. As chair of the City Environment Committee, I have been working to establish policies that drive us toward sustainability. This includes creating an Implementation Plan so we can effectively achieve our CAP goals, as well as adopting a prioritization policy to ensure city resources are allocated thoughtfully. As chair of the San Diego Community Power board, I work with my colleagues to ensure we meet our goal of delivering 100% renewable energy to your homes and businesses by 2035.

With an unprecedented amount of federal funding available to move us closer to a sustainable future, the city must seize the opportunity to invest in electric vehicle infrastructure, convert city buildings to all-electric, and expand our wetlands to capture carbon and help with rising sea levels. Furthermore, we must work with the private sector to move new construction away from natural gas.

These are just a few of the things we can do to be effective, and it’s up to all of us to work individually and collectively. As a new grandfather, I look to the future with optimism. Let us make this Earth Day a call to action to continue to work towards a sustainable future.

May 4 issue:

Value for money? $4.5M for two park bathrooms

I have been privileged to live in Carmel Valley since 1986. As we all know, home values have risen sharply through the years. Nowadays, $2 million will get you a 3,000-square-foot, four-bed, four-bath home with a pool and granite counter tops. However, it apparently won’t get you a 350-square-foot prefab bathroom placed on an existing lot. I am referring to the article in the April 27 issue of the Carmel Valley News which states that two park bathroom contracts were let for $2.2 million and $2.3 million to erect the prefab units on existing park land. Outrageous!

I absolutely agree with putting bathrooms in the parks. Both parks are well used for kids’ birthday parties as well as youth soccer and other recreational and exercise activities. What I object to is the cost doesn’t make any sense at all and I question why we had to wait eight long years after the CV Community Planning Board approved the funding before the work is initiated? I am not sure who has oversight of the construction project but I think there needs to be an accounting on how our money is spent. We indirectly pay the Developer Impact fees used to fund these projects when we buy our homes and therefore have a right to know and an obligation to make sure we get value for money.

Stephen Shewmaker

Carmel Valley

May 11 issue:

Paying it forward

A very heartfelt thank you to the couple who picked up our tab for drinks and dinner last Friday evening at En Fuego in Del Mar. When we asked our waitress for the check, much to our surprise, she told us the couple at a nearby table had paid for our drinks and dinner. Thank you, whoever you are. With all of the discord and rancor in our world, it is very reassuring to know that folks like you are still out there.

Martha and Larry Brooks

Del Mar

May 18 issue:

Housing issue should be discussed in public forum

I am writing in response to the recent Grand Jury report on housing in San Diego County. In that report the Grand Jury recommended that the City of Solana Beach enter into an agreement with the North County Transit District (NCTD) to develop the train station parking lot for affordable housing. In reading the May 10, 2023 City Council closed session agenda I noted that the city is negotiating with NCTD on the property. This is an issue that should not be conducted behind closed doors.

The train station lot has the potential to solve the affordable housing needs of the citizens. The train station parking lot has been the subject of potential development more than once and nothing has come from that. Again, this is something that needs to be discussed in public forum and not behind closed doors.

Thank you,

Jonathan Goodmacher,

Solana Beach

May 25 issue:

Generous art gift should be accepted

As an artist of a certain age who has lived here all her life, it never ceases to amaze me the profound ignorance of local governments, this time the City Council of Del Mar’s lack of appreciation or value of art. Isamu Noguchi has been a giant in the world of art for at least the past 80 years. Now the council has chosen to decline the gift.

The City Council of Del Mar has joined the City of San Diego’s philistine attitudes of 35-plus years ago when they rejected a gift of a blue palm tree from Ellsworth Kelly to be placed on Harbor Drive on the road to the San Diego Airport.

The Del Mar City Council could rescue themselves from infamy by accepting this generous gift rather than sharing the world view of a local flaneur.

Rosemary KimBal

Del Mar

Rejection of sculpture donation a major loss

One of the measures of a great city is its public art. Del Mar is fortunate to have three remarkable pieces of sculpture by prominent British artists on the upper level of the Del Mar Plaza. Every time my wife and I visit the plaza we make it a point to spend time viewing the important works by Antony Gormley, Barry Livingston and Tony Cragg, all of which are on public view.

The City of Del Mar recently had the opportunity to place yet another major piece of sculpture on public view when it received an offer to donate to the city a work by the major American artist Isamu Noguchi for placement in the City Hall complex on Camino Del Mar. In an unbelievably shortsighted move, the City Council rejected this generous offer of an important piece of sculpture believed to be worth in the neighborhood of $250,000, citing the potential for controversy. This is a major loss, both to the residents of Del Mar who expect better from their elected leaders, and to the City of Del Mar itself to the extent it hopes to attract new visitors to our wonderful city.

Larry Poteet

Del Mar

Isamu Noguchi sculpture gift

It appears that the City of Del Mar wants to avoid controversy more than it wants to do its job. There is always controversy with art…modern, classical, realism, even old masters. But to use the excuse of “avoiding controversy” is just chicken-hearted and does also undermine the value of art in general.

Patricia Frischer

Cardiff by the Sea

PHR Community Park needs more care

I was glad to see Karen Billing’s May 9 article highlighting the poor upkeep at Pacific Highlands Ranch Community Park. Like many, I walk the park every day and have been gritting my teeth for 3 years or more at the total neglect of the trees and other plants, overgrown weeds, and barren pitch. Glad to see that the field is finally getting reseeded, after years of bare dirt and brown scrub grass. Hundreds of people use this park every day, and many more on weekends.

I’ve expressed my frustration to the 1-2 people visibly in charge but they seem helpless to do much more than empty garbage cans and pick up litter. I am told there are more than 400 public parks in San Diego and most are underfunded and understaffed. Why build parks if there is no plan or money to maintain them? Carmel Valley is not an impoverished suburb of San Diego, but it seems like the tax dollars are being spent elsewhere. I may not have the whole picture, but it seems like it’s a management problem too. Is it really so hard to find someone to whack weeds once a week? I hope you can visit again and keep shining a light on this eyesore.

Peter Deneen

Carmel Valley