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Discussion by our commenters on how high buildings should go along the coast continues this week. They also weighed in on city power brokers, sidewalks, transit and hospice care.

Check out five comments we’re highlighting:

Robert Cohen on “Where Everyone Has a Coastal View“:

I have mixed feelings regarding changing the height limit by the beach. Capri-by-the-Sea, the Catamaran hotel and what used to be called the Islandia hotel aren’t exactly examples of quality architectural design. Those buildings just exist and don’t add to the beauty of the area. Would allowing higher buildings really reduce rents? Or would the promise of ocean views just raise the prices even more?

Matthew Yglesias, referred to in the article, has previously written about abandoning height limitations in Washington, D.C. I lived in the D.C. area in the 1980s and was surprised when I arrived there that it had no skyline. But after a while I liked the fact that there were no tall buildings to block the sun or that wind tunnels weren’t created by tall buildings’ presence, like you have in New York. I don’t see any benefit with allowing tall buildings along our coast. Maybe adjustments to six stories might be reasonable, but I don’t think we should get any higher than that.

Walter Chambers on “San Diego’s Nonsensical Sidewalk Rules“:

A street is much, much more than just the paved part between curbs. The street is the life blood of the city. ALL users, especially pedestrians, must be considered as part of the street.

That is why San Diego needs a complete street policy. There are no “sexy streets” if pedestrians and bicyclists are terrified to use them, and/or if the street is so wide, so ugly, so unforgiving that commerce and people cannot flourish on it.

Susan Hopps on “Slowly Dying Patients, An Audit and a Hospice’s Undoing“:

Certainly, if my mother did not qualify for admission into hospice care the doctors would not have kept telling us that is what she needed. Certainly, if she had not qualified a year ago, she would now. Anyone can look at her and see that she has withered away to nothing, is incoherent and does not have long to live. How long is not for us to know until it is her time to go. I would guess less than six months but I, like her doctors, thought that a year ago. For us to be warned by San Diego Hospice at this point that she would most likely have to return to care under her previous Kaiser doctor is unthinkable. She has not left her bed in over a year now but reverting to Kaiser coverage would mean numerous medical transports, as Kaiser doctors will not do home visits. Returning to her previous medical situation would certainly hasten her death … and THEN maybe she would again qualify for hospice care … which we would seek under a hospice provider OTHER than San Diego Hospice.

Sara Kent on “On the Road, With the Pressure Off“:

From the 10,000-foot view, SANDAG staff and leaders are mired in a planning mindset that belongs in the previous century, one that will not best serve future generations of San Diegans and an evolving society.

From a fiscally responsible, “learning from the mistakes of others” perspective, other cities have adopted BRT first, only to scrap the majority of those investments in favor of LRT (light rail). Not only does the public prefer riding trains to buses, but BRT v. LRT initial investments plus long-term maintenance are comparable (Buses must be replaced, roads require more expensive maintenance than rail lines). For example.

From an environmental perspective, we cannot pave our way out of greenhouse gas emissions exceedances, nor, from a quality-of-life perspective, out of traffic congestion. More roads equals more congestion. It seems contrary to logic, but just look at L.A. and consider that an additional 1 million San Diego residents in the next 40 years will need to get around the county.

BRT may be part of the solution — especially for a few of our sprawling city centers, but it mustn’t replace commitment to integrated LRT.

Labor leader Lorena Gonzalez on “Safety in Numbers: the Fate of the ‘San Diego 20’“:

First, I want to clarify that in no way did I ever imply that there was anything wrong with the “San Diego 20.”

After about a year at the Labor Council, we started noticing that every time we tried to get new faces onto high-powered boards or commissions, that we would be told that they weren’t qualified. I would try to determine what made a person “qualified.” The names we put up were attorneys, graduates of top schools and long-time activists and yet they were still deemed to not be appropriate.

And that is how we started joking about the San Diego 20. In all honesty, 20 wasn’t a precise number — sometimes it felt like we were rounding up and sometimes it felt like we were rounding down. But we would always joke that to be in the San Diego 20, one likely fit a majority (not all) of certain criteria: white, male, over 50, SDSU graduate or otherwise affiliated with the university, a red coat-wearing Holiday Bowl booster, a member of the Chamber’s board, living north of the 94 (likely North of the 8, with extra points for hailing from La Jolla or Point Loma), worked for Pete Wilson and/ or Susan Golding, and a Republican (or at least a Democrat who supported local Republicans). We would laugh that the only exceptions to the above had to 1 ) have Chaired the Chamber Board or 2) worked for Sempra.

Now, was this a generalization? Of course. But if you went through the past 10 years of City movers and shakers and appointments to boards, would you find a lot of folks who fit in that category? Of course.

I have always believed that our City could be more innovative and creative and aware of different neighborhoods, if we expanded the base of folks we deemed “qualified” for these appointments. Are the San Diego 20 qualified? Absolutely. But, I would also argue that adding in a diversity of backgrounds to those 20 is good for everyone. I don’t think this is revolutionary, I think it is honest. And, I am terribly sorry if anyone took offense to that. Lighten’ up San Diego, we are all going to be OK. It’s just what we call in the Gonzalez household “growing pains.”

Comments have been lightly edited for typos, spelling and style.


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Dagny Salas is the web editor at Voice of San Diego. You can contact her directly at dagny.salas@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5669.

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Disclosure: Voice of San Diego members and supporters may be mentioned or have a stake in the stories we cover. For a complete list of our contributors, click here.

Dagny Salas

Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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