By Frances O’Neill Zimmerman
A veterans’ group led by the owner of the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club wants to light up inky-dark Mount Soledad nights and is seeking official approval next week for this unprecedented alteration to the highest viewpoint on the west side of the city of San Diego.
At stake is encroaching light pollution within our urban area and maintaining Mount Soledad as a sacred dark space for viewing the night sky — shooting stars, unusual planetary alignments, spectacular moonrises, eclipses of the moon. Generations of San Diegans and visitors to San Diego have experienced the beauty of the nighttime sky and the 360-degree panorama of the city below from atop Mount Soledad.
If you want to keep Mount Soledad dark, you need to weigh in with your opinion now. Contact Mark Moncey at MMoncey@sandiego.gov or call (858) 581-9716
Or show up on Monday June 25 at 4 p.m. at the La Jolla Recreation Center on Prospect Street across from the Museum of Contemporary Art.
La Jolla Parks and Beaches Committee, which is advisory to San Diego City Council, will hear the matter on that date for the second time. It was first proposed on May 21 by Bill Kellogg of the Beach and Tennis Club and member of the Mount Soledad Memorial Association and was then held over to allow for wider public comment.
It seems that Memorial Association veterans no longer wish to raise and lower the American flag located there twice daily as they have done for many years. Apparently if the flag is illuminated, protocol allows it to be flown 24/7.
News stories about this proposal first appeared in the weekly La Jolla Light on June 7 and in the U-T San Diego on June 8, but they seem not to have gained much public notice during this end-of-school/graduation/beginning-of-the-Fair season.
In years past, Kellogg’s Memorial Association also has lobbied on behalf of the controversial Mount Soledad Cross and was instrumental in transferring the land on which it stands to the federal government. That Cross will be the subject of a Supreme Court decision this week about whether or not it will review, once and for all, its constitutionality. At present, the Cross has been found unconstitutional by the lower U.S. Ninth District Court.
UPDATE: I forgot to say that Kellogg and the Memorial Association also want to wire the summit of Soledad for a public address system. Like French nighttime shows at architectural landmarks, “Son et Lumiere” may be coming soon to your Mount Soledad Natural Park.