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Column: League of Women Voters chapter marks 60th anniversary

Lola Sherman’s Seaside Musings column

In 1962, a group of local residents in the San Dieguito area decided it was about time they founded a local chapter of the League of Women Voters.

On Sept.17, they celebrated the 60th anniversary of that action.

The party was combined with a two-hour “Kick-Off to Voting Season Event” at the Encinitas Library.

Some of the longtime members like Veronica Seay, Joyce Joseph, former Encinitas Mayor Anne Omsted and Charlotte Gumbrell were on hand as were younger leaders like current president Rosette Garcia.

After its founding originally for members in Encinitas, Rancho Santa Fe, Solana Beach, Cardiff, Olivenhain and Leucadia, the chapter expanded to become League of Women Voters North County San Diego and to include the coastal area from Oceanside to Carmel Valley and inland to Vista, San Marcos, Fallbrook and Escondido.

Gumbrell remembered in the early 1960s, when she was Charlotte Laird Bruns at the time and working for the superintendent of the San Dieguito Union High School District, the late Arthur Gumbrell, he sought the help of the then-fledgling League against a campaign to ban books on the school campus.

She said she was impressed with the League’s efforts and joined — she also subsequently married her boss.

“I was one of the first members, and I’m still participating,” Gumbrell, 97, said.

Joseph remembered in the days before the Internet and social media when the League-published Smart Voter booklet provided some of the only nonpartisan election information.

League activities are strictly nonpartisan. It reviews ballot measures, but does not endorse parties nor candidates.

The group stresses civil discourse.

On Wednesday, its Oceanside unit will co-sponsor (with Oceanside Coastal Neighborhood Association) an online candidates’ forum from 7 to 8:30 p.m. for District 1 and 2 council seats in that city.

At the Sept. 17 event, tables around the library Community Room offered information on all the things the League does, from book clubs to work on climate change.

Background on the founding of the national organization in 1920 — the year after women got the vote in the U.S. — ran on a video loop on the big screen on the stage, and other displays showed maps of new boundaries for state Assembly and Senate seats and county Board of Supervisors.

Rosie Rascon from the county Registrar of Voters demonstrated the new voting machine.

Public gives feedback on proposed El Corazon park

Oceanside residents participating in an online planning session for the first proposed park within the city’s massive El Corazon property made their desires known Monday.

Park No. 1, one of nine planned within the 465-acre property, once was to contain 36 acres, but the new Frontwave Arena and adjacent parking lot have cut the available acreage about in half.

The park, however, can share the parking when not in other use.

A former sand mine, the property is located northwest of the Rancho del Oro Drive and Oceanside Boulevard intersection.

Some 62 people participated in the online discussion with city officials and representatives of Schmidt Design Group of San Diego, which is planning the park under a $476,360 municipal contract.

Asked to rank several possibilities, the group overwhelmingly — 69 percent — agreed restrooms would be needed.

The parking lot and two multipurpose fields will be constructed by the arena developer, and those responding to the online presentation said they would prefer a third field be open for various uses and not configured for any one purpose.

More than half liked playgrounds, half favored a dog park (strongly stressed by caller-in Sandra Singleton at the ebb of the meeting) and 44 percent liked passive uses.

Hard-court surfaces for such activities as pickleball got some support, but basketball and tennis courts didn’t find much favor and “pumptracks,” like skateboard parks for bicycles, got little favor.

A second public workshop will be held next year.

Mark Olson, city parks and recreation manager, said a source of money for construction of the park hasn’t been identified, so there’s no expected completion date.

Sherman is a freelance columnist. Contact her at lola@seaside-media-services.com.


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