Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial to Get Wired

by Frances Zimmerman

Influential and privately-funded Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial Association (VMA) got backing Monday afternoon from the volunteer citizens advisory group at La Jolla Parks and Beaches (LJP&B) to install an electrical easement at the City of San Diego’s 118-acre Mount Soledad Natural Park.

The motion, made by LJP&B members Dan Allen and seconded by John Beaver, passed 9 to 3.  An earlier motion to deny the VMA’s request to install lighting failed 10 to 3.  A representative of the Sierra Club was among those who spoke against electrification, citing light pollution and negative effects on celestial observation.

At the meeting there was a shift in the VMA’s previous line which a month earlier had been about
lighting the American flag at the summit 24/7 as opposed to raising and lowering it by hand daily.  VMA spokesman Bill Kellogg, owner of the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, indicated yesterday that his VMA organization was asking officially only for an electrical easement in order to conform with lighting safety rules set by the United States Navy which “owns the site” and with whom the VMA has a memorandum of understanding.  Kellogg insisted no specific lighting plan was on the table and that his group is merely following orders.

Kellogg’s assertion seemed to undercut the validity of a night-time lighting “test” that was conducted on short notice last week for VMA and LJP&B members. The pro bono contractor at  the “test” revealed that 78 lights were being planned for flag, plaques and stairways surrounding the entire Memorial, a significant increase in the amount of electrification.

The Memorial occupies the highest point on half an acre and is topped by a controversial Christian Cross.  The cross has been litigated for more than 20 years and was declared unconstitutional last year.  Negotiations are ongoing in Washington, D.C. now about  disposition of the cross since the Supreme Court  has refused to re-hear the case.  According to the Los Angeles Times, Kellogg’s VMA has not been included in those talks.


  1. avatarunWASHEdWalmaRtthONG says

    Appropriate, appropriate, appropriate, appropriate–that is the agenda of the christian soldiers. Build a cross & add the sidewalks & build some walls & add a garden & build a fence & add a memorial to warmongering, then add some lights. And when it is finished, it still will be the ugliest hilltop in the county. It’s ugly. Raze it. Build a coi pond. Better yet, build a memorial to peace. When the first second of peace occurs on the planet, a peaceful coi pond can be built.
    Dear Light Installation Group,
    Please do not forget to install restrooms & a cistern; the U.S. of A. is going right
    You’ll need some place to store the country.

    • avatarGoatskull says

      Whether or not it should be a cross is one thing. That’s a debate that will probably never be resolved regardless of the tax money that being thrown at it. It’s one of those things you might as well grab the popcorn and a cold beer and enjoy watching the two sides go at it. But as a war memorial its purpose is to honor and commemorate those who were killed in action. Whether the war they were killed in is irrelevant to its purpose (that’s a whole separate discussion). As I’ve stated before, hate the war but not the warrior (I think we’ve had this discussion before). Keep in mind that right here in San Diego there are a lot of families who’ve lost loved ones in war and they are owed at least a small amount of respect, and this memorial means a lot to them. Trust me when I tell you that MANY of them in retrospect are not pro war in any way shape or form, and for those who are you should realize that when losing your son, daughter, husband or wife, brother or sister it’s very hard to grasp the idea that the war was a waste. If you live here in San Diego then you know at least one person who’s lost some one over there. Personally, I couldn’t care less if the cross stays or goes. If it does go then perhaps is should be replaced by an American flag so at least it won’t be courting any particular religion. You may think it’s a simple of war mongering and should just be dismantled completely, but you know that will never happen.

      • avatarGoatskull says

        “Whether the war they were killed in is irrelevant to its purpose (that’s a whole separate discussion).”

        I of course meant to say “whether the war they were killed in was just or unjust” to the purpose of the memorial is irrelevant.

        • avatarquinoa&tofu says

          The memorial became a tactical maneuver to retain the cross.
          There are other memorials in the county where people can visit & commiserate those who have died during conflict; there’s a new one near Miramar Rd & Nobel Dr.

  2. avatar says

    Unwashed, you will be interested to know the Veterans Memorial Association talked at the last meeting about setting up a computerized kiosk at the monument with information on plaque-honorees as well as links to other U.S. Navy memorials.

    What’s really stunning is not so much the Veterans Memorial associates from the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. Personally, I’m astonished by the passivity of the good citizens on La Jolla Parks and Beaches advisory committee. They could say no to these incursions, but they don’t. They don’t press City Councilmember Lightner’s silent representative for help or an opinion. They just roll over. At the same meeting these civic volunteers also voted for the fourth year to give over the entire La Jolla Cove Park for a weekend in April to a car show called the Concours d’Elegance. And they are preparing an end-run for the planning commission to undo the Coastal Commission’s UNANIMOUS July ruling to keep a year-round rope at the Children’s Pool to protect hauled-out marine mammals.

    I suggested to someone that they conduct their meetings lying down, so that they would look good whenever they actually stood up for a park or beach.

  3. avatarunWASHEdWalmaRtthONG says

    Perhaps the secular community could plan a plaque commemorating the litigation that has occurred over the decades regarding the icon. It could be nicely done in granite and bronze w/ the history of the icon, the unconstituionality, the history of the litigation, the maneurvering of rep Duncan Hunter (R) et al, & the next step: the difficulty of placing the plaque or plith or stele in the vicinity of the icon.
    I lament; we’ll never see a coi pond.

  4. avatarAnne says

    I am the LJPB member who at the June meeting made a motion that the LJPB deny the easement for the light installation. After discussion, at which no one spoke in favor of the lights, one member finally proposed tabling my motion. There was no second and the discussion continued until after about 10 minutes, a second was finally obtained. I believe that if the vote had taken place that night, my motion would have passed. I was away on vacation during the July meeting and needless to say, was more than disheartened to read the results of the July vote. The powers that be had a month to get their act together and who knows what went on during that time. Hopefully someone at least mentioned that the feedback a Park and Rec representative received was 15:1 against ANY lights. Yes, sadly this committee is abdicating its responsibilities to the community.