Letters to the editor – July 1

Readers debate if a conflict of interest exists

RE: “A conflict of interest? Uptown Planners face a controversy,” Volume 8, Issue 13 or at

 [Uptown Planners board member Mia] Rosas clearly has a conflict of interest: Her employer is employed by real estate developers who wish to change zoning for their Hillcrest projects. Pretty simple.

—Bruce Bielaski via our website,

Those people who are stopping new development more directly profit from their positions. Their property values will continue to sharply increase if they are able to keep new housing off the market. Sounds like a conflict of interest to me!

—Andy Burt via our website

Uptown Planners is fortunate to have professionals like Maya Rosas and Amie Hayes volunteering their time and expertise to the discussions. Currently there is also a Realtor, a restaurant owner, and an architect on the board. I have not seen a list that details the occupation of every Uptown Planner.

On the founding board of Uptown Planners there was a landscape architect and people who went on to become City Council members. Robert Miles Parker, founder of SOHO, was a founding member of Uptown Planners.

Everyone on the board has some sort of interest in the community. Why else would anyone wade through thousands of pages of documents and hours of bickering? What good would a board be if there were not a variety of interests, backgrounds and knowledge? A professional’s expertise is invaluable. It would be helpful to know how each decision-maker, from Mayor to planner, and provider, from developer to architect, benefits.

—Carol Emerick via our website

To Carol Emerick: Yes, you are so right on. We get involved in community groups because we care about our neighborhoods of Mission Hills, Hillcrest and Bankers Hill. We have interest in bringing about neighborhoods that are correctly dense, clean, green and add to the lovely quality of life we all enjoy. Tom Mullaney continues to be a “turd in the punch bowl” of real opportunities in the uptown communities. He has been wrong on density for over 25 years, not supporting the award-winning 1Mission back in 2005, which has been a great success of smart growth, restaurants, and inclusive low income housing.

—LJ Black via our website

Good insight! Thank you Ken Williams.

David E. Coben via our Facebook page,

SOHO is nonprofit advocacy group, has no and has not had any financial interest in any project historical or otherwise in Uptown and does not anticipate any in the future. Amie Hayes does not represent SOHO on the board; she is a resident of Uptown and elected by the community to serve on the board. SOHO does operate the Marston House Museum for the city in Balboa Park in Uptown. Should her employer, for some unforeseen reason, have any financial interest in any project coming before the planning group, Amie would of course recuse herself for discussion and voting on any item like any other planning board member.

—Bruce Coons, SOHO executive director, via our website

Proud of San Diego

RE: “San Diego shows solidarity with Orlando after terrorist attack,” a photo page, Volume 8, Issue 13 or at

Thank you for sharing these great photos of a very touching evening. It was incredible to see that many community members come together to rally around such a tragic occasion.

—Benny Cartwright via our website

Love our neighborhood!

Elise Vissel Englander via Facebook

Upgrade the infrastructure

RE: “How future growth will impact North Park, Golden Hill,” Volume 8, Issue 13 or at

You can’t do infill without an upgrade to the infrastructure or you kill your golden goose. More pressure has to be put on the Mayor to require more from the developers than just ensuring reelection. 

Chris Tucker via Facebook

Telling our story

RE: “Chassé-ing your dreams,” Volume 8, Issue 11 or at

Great article Michael! Thanks for telling the story of my family home and making it relevant and alive.

Anna Wilcoxson via our website

No excuse for homelessness

I have been a resident of San Diego since my honorable discharge from the USMC. I joined a successful company that, due to the economic conditions, ultimately failed from a lack of contracts.

The timing for my employment opportunities were limited and I found myself unemployed for a significant amount of time, to my regret.

Not willing to give up or fail, I began my journey to further my future. I began with Labor Ready, and I applied at numerous businesses and was willing to wash cars, landscape and otherwise pay my way. Knowing I would succeed if I just continued to make myself available.

The income was still limited but I pressed on while living under homeless conditions — circumstances that still are prevalent to this very day. Homelessness cannot be excused and plays a major role in our San Diego society and must be confronted and not concealed.

During this time, I was blessed and consider myself to have received a blessing by accident: a saint. St. Vincent de Paul and websites like and No more sleeping in dangerous situations “on the street” as so many currently reside.

San Diego, we have to continue to bring hope to the hundreds, even thousands who line our city streets and lie in despair.

—Jady Knight

No more trash

If you were a kid, would you like to play in a filthy park? Imagine you are 8 or 9 years old and you’re begging your parents to go to the park. They finally say yes, and when you get there you don’t want to be there!

Why? Well, because there is trash everywhere. Wherever you step, you step in trash. Now you are begging your parents to go home. I believe that we need more trash cans and ones with lids at Ward Canyon Park.

One reason I think we need more trash cans and ones with lids at Ward Canyon Park is because the trash makes the park dirty. People won’t come, and when tourists come they will think we’re a sloppy city. We don’t want a reputation as a messy city, do we?

When my friends and I went to the park many times over spring break, every time it was dirty and we felt uncomfortable. Kids deserve an enjoyable clean place to play and hang out. As a kid, I don’t want to play in a messy park. In a park I want to have fun and not worry that I’m going to step in dirty trash. Parks should be as clean as a new house. That is one reason why I think Ward Canyon Park needs more trash cans and ones with lids.

Another reason is that a dirty park attracts animals. It may attract wild, aggressive animals like raccoons or opossums, not cute kittens or puppies. Animals can choke on balloons, they can get trapped in cans or hurt by sharp edges. Also they can suffocate in plastic bags or choke on them. In addition, some animals like this as a good breeding ground. This can result in overpopulation of one species, especially when lots of other species are dying out because of all the litter. We don’t want marine life and other animals to die out and only have insects like cockroaches and spiders left. That is another reason we need more trash cans and ones with lids at Ward Canyon Park.

Finally and most importantly I believe that there should be more trash cans and ones with lids at Ward Canyon Park because the trash will end up in the ocean. The ocean animals will eat the trash, die, and then the species will eventually go extinct.

When fish eat the trash, it blocks the stomach so they can’t digest food and this causes them to starve. The ocean animals can get tangled up in the litter. They get trapped and can’t get free. The only way they could get free is if divers cut them loose. If they don’t get free, they die!

Also, large debris will sink to the bottom of the ocean. This will cause the seabed to be smothered. It can be carried away by strong currents but that tears up the very fragile habitat of the seabed. In addition to that, when people go to beach clean-ups they use rakes to clean up. What they don’t know is existing nests can be disturbed. Compacted beaches are difficult or impossible for nesting.

Another example is 1.9 billion tons of litter ends up in the ocean every year — that is more than the amount of trash generated every year, which is only 250 million tons.

My request is simple: there should be more trash cans and ones with lids at Ward Canyon Park. I think this because every time I got there it is full of trash.

—Olivia Hackworth, fourth-grader at Alice Birney Elementary School in University Heights

We need a new library 

Imagine a beautiful building. There is a new University Heights library, people are reading books, checking out books, and out front people are eating and having fun. Don’t you want a new University Heights library?

There is a building by my school called the Annex 1 that is a historical building and there is a current argument over whether it should be a library, and I think yes. We need a new University Heights library in San Diego because the library we have now doesn’t have enough resources or enough space, and a new library would give the community a place to meet up.

We need a new University Heights library because the one near my house doesn’t have enough resources. When I need to get a book, I always have to go across the bridge to Coronado because the libraries near my house have only a few books. This shows that if we had a new library in University Heights, people wouldn’t have to drive so far away to get a book.

Also, if you cannot afford a book, you can get a book from your library. So, if you’re in poverty, you usually don’t have any books. This is important because in low income areas there is only one book per 300 kids.

Another reason we need a new University Heights library is because it would have a better book selection. The other libraries near my house are not big enough and don’t have a good book selection.

We need a new University Heights library because all the libraries in my neighborhood are cramped, so if we have a bigger, better library — which could be the Annex 1 — there would be more space. This shows that not only will people be glad that the Annex 1 is a library, it would also be bigger and better. Also if there are gloomy neighborhoods by the library, it could help that.

For example, when more people come to that neighborhood because there is a library, maybe those people will go to that library. Also, when kids are going to kindergarten, books help. So if there is a new University Heights library for kids to go to, they could do better in school.

The last reason we need a new University Heights library is so we can have a place to meet in the community and it can make it better. For example, when people are bored and they have nothing to do, they can go to the library and meet people. This is important because, when you’re good friends with people, they have your back and that makes a better community. We also need a new library so we can host events. All the libraries around here are too small to host an event. If we make the new University Heights library, we can have concerts and a lot more great things.

My request is important. We need a new University Heights library in San Diego so the community can have a place to meet, so it will be bigger and better, and so it has more resources.

—Nikolas Binder, student from North Park


  1. Deirdre Lee says:

    No one has been stopping new development. The developers could have been building to 65 ft all this time, higher than anything else in Hillcrest. Pure greed has raised it’s ugly head. The residents who are objecting to the 100 ft plus heights are not worried about their property values but the quality and character of the neighborhood. You can kill the golden goose. Todd Gloria said we need more density so we can have more restaurants. We will have more density of course, but do we need more restaurants? You could eat at a different restaurant every night for six months right now. How about some other services and amenities like other neighborhoods have? The library? A pool??

  2. Deirdre Lee says:

    Corrections on Uptown:
    Maya Rosas is not volunteering her time. She is employed by the lobbyist for the developers.

    The Mission One project in Mission Hills was fought by many in that community, and it was scaled back because of that input. It is nice, but you have to go elsewhere to do anything but live and eat.

  3. Ken Williams says:

    Deirdre Lee: No corrections are needed. Maya Rosas and every single member of the Uptown Planners are volunteers. They do not get paid for their service on this advisory board to city planners, and they are elected by participating Uptown residents at the annual election (except when they are appointed to fill a vacancy). Speaking of careers, some Uptown Planners board members are developers and real estate agents doing business in the Uptown area, so why don’t you have an issue with them?

    _ Ken Williams, editor of San Diego Uptown News

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