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Letters to the Editor/Opinion April, June 2022

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April 8 issue:

Help keep our history of Encinitas alive

Do you just love this town? Would you like to keep memories alive? Do you want to share our colorful history with just about everyone? Please then, consider becoming a part of our active Historical Society! The Encinitas Historical Society is a nonprofit all-volunteer organization that has been collecting, caring, archiving and printing the history of Encinitas from the bluffs at Moonlight Beach to the historic Bumann Ranch and from lagoon to lagoon since 1983.

We are currently open to the public on Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. as we operate within our beloved 1883 one-room schoolhouse. There are always at least two docents (trained volunteers) scheduled to meet and welcome curious visitors literally from all over the world. So, you don’t relish the idea of being inside? Our gardens are where some of the docents love to spend their time as they greet visitors when they arrive. Each garden section displays an educational aspect of native plants and water-wise floral. We only ask for a commitment of at least three hours per month; either a morning shift from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. or the afternoon shift from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. After your first day you will realize how enthralled our visitors are to actually be in the 1883 schoolhouse museum, while admiring our photo collections, publications and gift items. The diverse visitors love experiencing the classic look of a one-room schoolhouse with furnishings from the early 1900s.

Please consider dropping by to pay us a visit. Meet new folks, as our current docents range from retired schoolteachers, newcomers of all ages, to a local high school senior. We are jestingly referred to as the “hysterical society”...because we have fun while unselfishly serving our community!

The schoolhouse is located on the southwestern area of the Pacific View Elementary School campus, 390 West “F” Street, Encinitas. There is plenty of on-site parking. Admission is always free. Visit us at info@encinitashistoricalsociety.org. Schoolhouse phone number 760-942-9066 (leave a message if need be).

Carolyn Cope,

President, Encinitas Historical Society

Why it matters that Encinitas has an alternative supplier offering clean energy to residents

As residents of Encinitas, we enjoy the benefits it offers as a small, close-knit community with six miles of beautiful coastline, beaches, and a quality of life that represents the best of California living. We’re also responsible for preserving our way of life and our community for future generations. As a life-long surfer, I don’t like the idea of my favorite breaks going away.

Sea level rise driven by climate change is a real threat to our coastal community and our way of life. Our city has put together a very good climate action plan, thanks to the vision of an environmentally conscious mayor, city council and city staff. The biggest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions are transportation at 54% and electricity at 23%. Our city’s commitment to adopt community choice energy is a key strategy in the plan to reduce emissions from energy.

Starting this month, Encinitas residents will receive electricity from 100% renewable energy sources supplied by a not-for-profit community choice energy provider, San Diego Community Power (SDCP). We don’t have to do anything to switch to clean energy, since we are automatically enrolled in this as per California state laws governing such providers.

While we have the option to opt out, it makes sense to stay opted in, both for the planet and our pocketbook, since we can each make a difference to address climate change by powering our homes with 100% clean energy.

It took five years to bring these positive changes to our city, starting in 2016 when a group of motivated residents organized to support forward-looking city officials in exploring options. Back then, I didn’t know much about community choice energy but quickly embraced it as the most effective measure I could personally take to fight climate change and help preserve our city’s vibe.

Encinitas joined forces with four other cities, Imperial Beach, La Mesa, Chula Vista and San Diego, to form a “joint powers authority” which came together as SDCP, a locally operated community choice energy provider. Each city is represented on the SDCP board, so we all have a say, and we’ve been eagerly anticipating the launch of services.

Even small cities like ours have the power to play a critical role in solving the global problem of climate change.

We will continue to receive just the one bill from SDG&E, which will deliver power, manage monthly billing and customer service, and provide system maintenance. But unlike the for-profit utility, San Diego Community Power will reinvest its profits into local renewable projects, supporting clean energy jobs and equitable sustainability programs. So, it’s a win-win for Encinitas’ future.

Sincerely,

Gary Jahns

Encinitas

April 22 issue:

Very grateful to live in Encinitas

We are so lucky to live in Encinitas. On a recent Wednesday we drove to the library to hear the Wednesday concert, that week by the fabulous pianist Adam Hostomsky. Before the concert we could browse at the library bookstore for wonderful books, DVDs and CDs. On the way home we drove among wonderful greenery, so often provided by businesses, and all without having to worry about dropping bombs.

Daina Krigens

Encinitas

June 3 issue:

We must find our way back to civility and a willingness to hear all voices

By now, news of the May 19 San Dieguito Union High School District Regular Board Meeting has spread well past San Diego County news coverage, with the Los Angeles Times running a piece about it. Descriptions of the shouting, the shoving, and the selective silencing are being compared to the Jerry Springer Show, infamous for its unruliness.

I attended this meeting for 5-1/2 hours, hoping to address the board during the closed-session public comment period. In the meeting, I learned that Trustee Michael Allman had sent a message to supporters of his efforts to terminate the superintendent, urging them to arrive well before the start of the meeting to sign up to comment. He wrote: “Board President Mo Muir has discretion on how many public comments she will accept, but I doubt it will be like previous meetings where everyone was allowed to speak.”

Forty-five speakers asked to address the board on closed-session items. In a break from custom of the past many meetings, Board President Muir announced only the first 15 would speak. (The first commenter disclosed his one o’clock arrival time, two hours prior to the three o’clock start of the meeting.) Most called for the superintendent’s termination. Between speakers 10 and 11, when a member of the audience rose to ask if alternate viewpoints could be heard, he was shouted down, his chair shoved into him by a previous speaker, and he was asked to “please be respectful” by Board President Muir.

Sadly, beyond how the meeting was misgoverned by Board President Muir, was the way the public conducted itself. Interrupting speakers, shouting, booing, chanting were commonplace during the meeting, which should have been an ordinary part of the democratic process—a value shared by most Americans—in which the public communicates with elected officials in a space sanctioned by the Constitution. People yelled over others trying to speak different perspectives. An attendee posted to the private Facebook Group administered by Trustee Allman’s wife, “It’s crazy town in here. This may make national news.” Maybe national news has been Muir’s and Allman’s goal all along.

Has our district devolved so much that we can’t come together civilly to participate in one of the most important aspects of our democracy? Speaking freely in a public meeting to address elected officials is a cherished and important American birthright. When fellow Americans and elected officials disrupt that process, we lose an essential, everyday part of democracy. What a shame this is happening in San Dieguito, where, as a community, we’ll lose much more if we cannot find our way back to civility, respect, and a willingness to hear all voices.

Jen Charat

Carmel Valley

Parent of 3 SDUHSD students

Time for budget to reflect urgent repair needs for SDUHSD schools

Our San Dieguito Union High School District (SDUHSD) schools currently have over $77M+ in deferred maintenance as described in the 2020 Facilities Condition Draft Report. This independent review of our facilities notes that our schools have urgent repair needs, with over $21M marked as the highest priority. In the two years since the review, less than $2M of these repairs have been completed.

The disrepair our schools are in is shocking. For example, currently, at San Dieguito High School Academy (SDA), the high school impacted by enrollment well beyond capacity, significant plumbing issues in the school bathrooms, including failing sinks and inadequate water pressure, are impairing our students’ ability to properly wash their hands. Serious and dangerous electrical issues include unsecured wiring and non-GFCI outlets, some without covers, next to sinks used by students. Infrastructure such as sidewalks, parking lots, and retaining walls are in a state of structural failure. Roofing is past expected lifespan with areas of exposed dry rot, and gas lines on the roof are rusted and corroding.

Across the district, HVAC systems are at the end of their lifespans. Ventilation and filtration are key components of keeping school populations healthy, and yet these systems are not being updated as needed. And, the longer these desperately needed repairs are put off, the more catastrophic the eventual expense will be.

In 2012, voters specifically approved Prop AA bond projects such as CCA’s expansion of engineering spaces and a new black box theatre, as well as improvements at other schools. Ten years later, some of these projects haven’t been started yet, while Trustees Muir and Allman insist on other expenditures, such as spending almost $700,000 on architect plans for a potential aquatics facility at Torrey Pines High that has not been approved by either voters or the board.

There have been recent years during which the district has spent nothing on significant maintenance. And as some of our schools have increased enrollment and added instructional space, maintenance staffing has not kept up, resulting in an estimated shortage of 25 custodial positions needed to keep our schools running in optimal, clean and safe condition.

Our district paid over $300,000 for this expert review. It is time for our board, specifically Board President Muir and Vice President Michael Allman, to stop operating with consistent disregard for expertise provided by district staff and independent reports regarding safety of students. It is time for the budget to reflect the needs of all students, starting with basic and urgent safety concerns identified by the priority 1 designation, and for the board to immediately develop a plan to address the rapidly worsening repairs in priority 2. To do otherwise is financial and operational mismanagement of our district.

Kimberly McSherry

Carmel Valley resident / Parent of 2 current and 2 former students (grads) in SDUHSD


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