Lights in the Darkness of Mount Soledad

by on June 19, 2012 · 7 comments

in Culture

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.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman June 19, 2012 at 9:15 am

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.

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avatar Anna Daniels June 19, 2012 at 10:44 am

There are actually places in this country that have been established as “dark parks.” These are generally national and state park areas that have been established as natural night preserves.
We almost exclusively talk about environmental degradation in terms of our threatened oceans, air and land. There is a loss to all of us when the night sky is obliterated to our view. Those views into space, into the heart of the Milky Way, remind us of who we are and offer a much needed perspective about our place in the big scheme of things.
There are places where we need to keep the light switch on “off,” and the speakers unplugged. Our very own Mount Soledad is one of those places.

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avatar John Stumo June 19, 2012 at 11:49 am

I agree with Ms. Daniels she is so smart and in touch. I would like to hear more from her real soon jwstump@cox.net

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avatar PAT JOINER June 21, 2012 at 4:30 pm

i WOULD NOT LIKE TO HAVE ANY LIGHTS ON THE FLAG AND THE MEMORIAL PATHS OR STEPS SHOULD NOT BE USED AT NIGHT. PEOPLE GO AT NIGHT TO VIEW THE CITY LIGHTS AND THE STARS. THE PARK IS CLOSED AT 10:00 PM AND OPENED AT 7:00 AM WHEN THE FLAG IS PUT UP. LEAVE THE PARK AS IS.

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avatar Frank Gormlie June 21, 2012 at 4:32 pm

Pat – in the future, can we ask you to not use all caps, please?

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