Quality of Life Is On the Ballot

by on October 28, 2020 · 5 comments

in Election, Ocean Beach, San Diego

By Elizabeth Hansen / La Jolla Light / Oct. 27, 2020

It might not be obvious at first glance, but quality of life is on the ballot in the upcoming election. It doesn’t have its own proposition number, but it’s a key component in several measures and is a factor in the choice of every candidate.

From the perspectives of both supporters and opponents, a vote on Measure E is a quality-of-life decision.

In 1972, San Diegans voted in a 30-foot height limit for the coastal areas. Quality of life, they concluded, meant shorter buildings, ocean views and walking on public beaches.

Now, Measure E asks voters to remove the height limit in the Midway District, an area that stretches from the San Diego River on the north to San Diego Bay on the south and includes the MCRD [Marine Corps Recruit Depot] and the Pechanga Sports Arena.

While the measure does not propose any specific development, proponents see it as an opportunity to increase housing density, modernize the 54-year-old sports arena and save the Midway District.

No one who has driven through the area recently would deny that the district and the sports arena are sorely in need of rehabilitation. But there’s a pitched battle between the Yes on E side that says that, for economic reasons, rejuvenation isn’t possible with the height limit in place and the No on E side that wants low-rise housing and the proposed River Trail Park for walking and biking.

And the measure’s opponents fear the possibility that once the height limit has been removed from the Midway District, other coastal communities including La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, Ocean Beach and Point Loma could be next.

Thus the quality-of-life quandary — the benefits of housing density near public transit vs. the benefits of low-rise lodging and a park.

There’s no doubt there’s a shortage of shelter in San Diego. This problem wouldn’t be as severe if the existing laws for short-term vacation rentals were being enforced.

The 16,000 units now being rented illegally to visitors at inflated prices would make good homes for people who want to live and work here. As it is now, the lack of affordable housing makes it difficult to recruit teachers, police, firefighters and the other essential employees San Diego needs.

Enforcing the existing regulations also would be an economic benefit for local hotels and restaurants and would have a positive impact on our growing homeless population. I know we need more affordable housing, and I wish our city would do more to help the homeless.

Moreover, without STVRs, the quality of life in our neighborhoods could be restored. I would not be happy if one of our neighbors sold their home to someone who turned it into a vacation rental party house.

Elizabeth Hansen is a La Jolla resident.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Kathy Blavatt October 28, 2020 at 7:18 pm

I attended North Bay Redevelopment PAC meetings for years (Midaway/Sports Arena, parts of Point Loma – Roseville and Voltaire in PL Planning Area and West of I -5 to Laurel St.). So why is most of this still blighted? The incoming tax increment PAC money at one point was suppose to pay for items on a list the PAC voted on. But very little was used in the North Bay Redevelopment area. The list that included a park and ball field next to Barnard School changed. Instead the school and property was later sold and became “RESORT Condos”. Stonewood Apartments were later made market rate and all the “Section 8” residents booted. Money was loaned to other Redevelopment areas. Cathy Kenton’s who keeps saying the area is blighted, dad was on the North Bay. Redevelopment PAC. Maybe she should have asked her dad why they didn’t clean up the blight? Do peninsula residents really think we won’t pay dearly if Prop E goes through? And yes, turning short term rentals into long term rentals is a better solution.


Doug Blackwood October 28, 2020 at 8:55 pm

Right on : Sue & Kathy!
So many reasons why the 30 ft height limit is essential, to quality of life not just the coast; but our entire region.


Cathy Kenton October 29, 2020 at 8:37 am

Kathy –
My father passed away 11 years ago. It is unconscionable that you would now on at least two occasions smear him, his memory, and the work he did for the community.

As you should know redevelopment agencies were dissolved by the state in 2012. The money that was in that fund (approximately $150,000) has been under the control of the City of San Diego and every attempt the planning group has made to invest it in the community has been rejected by the city. We even tried to use it to upgrade Fire Station 20 and we weren’t allowed to use it for public improvement.

Get your facts right when you talk about my father. He was a good man and worked hard to better the Midway community and San Diego!


Frank Gormlie October 31, 2020 at 7:48 pm

See if this will convince: Jerry Sanders urges San Diego to vote ‘Yes on E’ to revitalize the Midway District https://www.kusi.com/jerry-sanders-urges-san-diego-to-vote-yes-on-e-to-revitalize-the-midway-district/


Peter from South O November 1, 2020 at 2:55 am

Well, that is the Chamber of Commerce talking now.

For those who don’t remember this fella, or who arrived here after his tenure, this is an interesting fact-check article from a decade ago. I particularly like the commentary on how his occasional bending of the truth was not as frequent when the public safety was the subject as when he discussed the financial side of things.



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