Will the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial Become an Extravaganza of More Wattage?

by Frances O’Neill Zimmerman

At 8:30 p.m. yesterday, July 18, a lot of people milled  around the illuminated American flag on the eastern side of the small federally-owned Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial in La Jolla, as City Parks and Recreation Department tested a new idea to keep Old Glory flying 24/7 up there year-round.

Members of the La Jolla Parks and Beaches advisory committee had been notified to witness this run-through. I too was invited at mid-afternoon yesterday, as I was one of several who testified at that group’s last meeting against electrification and in favor of keeping the greater Mount Soledad Natural Park a dark park for viewing the night sky and the spectacular 360-degree panorama of the city below. Parks and Beaches chairman Patrick Ahern put off voting on this matter in both May and June, though it was heatedly discussed.

But last night there was a surprise. It turned out we weren’t  talking about just lighting the Stars and Stripes. The Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial proposal has morphed — without notice in the press or at any public meeting –into an extravaganza of More Wattage. How much more?

The proposal includes 60 lights recessed in the pavement and directed onto mounted plaques surrounding the base of the circular brick monument that is topped by a controversial Christian cross. And a total of 16 stairway lights, two for each of eight  brick staircases that lead to the Cross at the Memorial’s summit. And last, but not least, two lights directed upward onto the American flag.

Electrical contracting for the proposal may be done gratis. But for it to happen requires an easement onto City land and a vote of our City Council. In the crowd someone pointed out Councilwoman Sherri Lightner’s staffer, Erin Demorest. The contractor asked me what I thought.  I told him I was astonished at the last-minute additional lighting and believed that light pollution of what is supposed to be a natural park would be the result.

The contractor assured me that if celestial events were scheduled, the lights could be turned off.


  1. avatarAnna Daniels says

    Every night is a “celestial event” in my book. Turn off the damn lights.

  2. avatarMark Roberts says

    EVERY Night is a clestial event. And why light up something the Courts have ordered to be removed ?

    This is a scam, to create another bogus argument that removal would somehow “damage” those who want a Christian Cross on public property towering over San Diego.

  3. avatar says

    “Why light up something the Courts have ordered to be removed?” Apparently because they can.

    Sunshine patriots run roughshod over craven community representatives from La Jolla Parks and Beaches, La Jolla Community Planning Association and soon enough, San Diego City Council, who are scared to “just say no.”

    This is not some national park: it is a small memorial on gerrymandered and recently-acquired federal land at the summit of and in the middle of the City of San Diego’s Mount Soledad Natural Park. It’s pretty clear the “Veterans Memorial” folks, led by Bill Kellogg who owns the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club, are getting away with murder.

  4. avatarunWASHEdWalmaRtthONG says

    Emboldened by losing every single court battle in the State of California regarding the icon, these people, these religionists march on w/ their agenda of appropriations. Inch by inch, bit by bit, acre by acre, they will appropriate that which they desire. Laws, courts, non-religionist minorities account for nada; they don’t merit a footnote in the playbook of appropriations. The park is the ugliest amalgamation of disunity & cacaphonious design ever to grace a summit. Raze the damned thing & install a coi pond; we’ll want to remember water in the years to come.
    And who slimed this appropration into federal jurisdiction? Chubby lil Duncan Hunter!