Beach Resident’s Responsibilities to the Rest of San DiegoMay 10, 2008 No Comments
I was surprised to hear the tone of the Mayoral debate yesterday (La Jolla High School 5/9/08) on several issues including parking meters, oversize vehicle ordinance and the beach alcohol ordinance.
That is, it seemed every time Mayor Sanders addressed one of these issues he implied that the beach communities should determine the fate of their area. Mayor Sanders and the other candidates largely said the facts should support any decisions and I whole-heartedly agree.
Now, this may sound a bit contrary to many of you but, I do believe beach residents should have a big say in these issues with one caveat. That is, because the ocean and bays are a public asset, much like a national park, I believe we have the added responsibility of making sure that laws and ordinances we insist upon do not infringe on the general public’s rights to open access and enjoyment of these areas, as long as they do not trample on the rights of the rest of us (region-wide).
I’m not in favor of creating an exclusionist environment at the expense of the rest of San Diegans and people from the entire region.
Theoretically, the city should be providing ample services such as police, lifeguard, fire/rescue, parking, trash pickup etc. and I do not yet believe they are meeting those basic responsibilities. We should be demanding more of those services to more closely fit the demand in our beach communities no? I heard somewhere that the Mission Bay Park is one of the most profitable parks in the country. Wouldn’t it make sense to use proceeds from that resource to fund the overwhelming need of the beach communities – which would benefit the entire city (i.e. police wouldn’t be taken from other areas in the summer for the beach needs, parks and recreation funding would remain constant for the huge demand, trash and litter, parking enforcement, street sweeping could all be addressed.
We do have a huge burden on our local market for instance with parking. Which one of us thought parking would not be a problem in the beach communities? This is a burden we all live with for several months out of the year. It’s kind of like living in a college town, when the kids come you’re glad to see them and when they leave you’re even more glad. The time they’re not there is best times because it’s our home and the guests have left. I feel the same with PB in that when the summer comes I know a lot of things will pickup – especially parking problems. But, the way around this issue is to have increased enforcement, not put meters/residential permits in that you and I have to now pay every time we want to park in our own community. Sure, it can raise money for local cleaning projects but, isn’t that the city’s and the local Business Improvement District’s (BID) responsibility? Is it fair to tax everyone who comes to PB for the peak months and all of us the year round? I don’t think so. Especially not to raise money to do what the City is supposed to be doing in the first place.
In PB a Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) is being considered to raise money for cleaning and safety. Shouldn’t we see what that can accomplish, if it passes, before we start talking about another (parking meter / residential permit) tax?
The alcohol issue is another one where, like many claimed in the beach-ban proceedings, it was hurting the whole of San Diego – not just us in the beach communities. So, unless I was just hoodwinked for the last two years on this issue I think we have to ask ourselves upon every decision: “is what we’re doing just to get our own peace of mind or, is it good for the whole of San Diego”. We cannot get caught up in Sanders argument that the beach communities decide their fate. You know the biggest reason? Because any group who wants change for the beach areas can EASILY be defeated by the beach community’s vote – providing we all keep being led down the path that we should determine our own fate. Residents of this area will organize and stamp out any ordinance or change that will be good for the entire San Diego. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander right?
So, my end action statement is that I think we should be focusing our energies on getting the existing infrastructure working for us including:
- Getting the police, lifeguard and fire/rescue services we need for the large influx of visitors we see year-round (6.5 million visitors to PB alone per the Lifeguards) as well as the year round problems.
- Getting more city infrastructure services such as trash pickup, street sweeping, parking enforcement
- Getting Discover PB focusing on the things that matter to the community and that are their responsibility without needlessly supporting and imposing unnecessary sanctions and taxes on the local community
- Be careful how the city determines policy in the beach communities for issues that relate to the entire city and region. What can help you in one issue can hurt you in another. The only solution is a fair policy that all city residents determine for the beach-community common areas and uses thereof.
That’s my two cents.Commentary