Walter Mencken 11:31 a.m., Feb. 1
- Community Blog
Bay Park: 32 Years of Wildlife and Ocean Views
I got rid of the roaches in just a few months. This is no reflection on Bay Park. I brought them with me from Golden Hill. They hitchhiked in the pocket of an apron I had hanging in my kitchen back on E Street. Bay Park never did have roaches. We do have huge beetles, roof rats, lizards, skunks, owls, possums, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, snakes, hawks, crows, spiders and feral cats. Probably reminds some newcomers of Texas. When two twin baby skunks stomped their feet at me in my back yard, they were right. I’m the intruder here and it’s their back yard. I wasn’t happy watching a hawk swoop down in my yard and carry off a pigeon. But it’s nature. A coyote and a fox went nose to nose in my yard, then parted peacefully.
I tried to relocate a black widow spider in my yard. I accidentally killed her and I felt bad as her legs crumpled up. If you love wildlife, move here. I loved seeing a great horned owl, at least two feet tall, probably out of Tecolote Canyon, rest in a tall tree in my back yard. Tecolote Canyon runs for 11 miles through Clairemont and Bay Park. At night I hear sounds like animals killing each other. But lots of us love the wildlife and during the day it’s quiet. I don’t think the animals kill each other during the day.
When you say you live in Bay Park, people usually ask either “Where is that?” or “Do you have a view?” We are at the coast, just east of Rte. 5, Mission Bay, Sea World, the railroad tracks, City Chevrolet at Morena Blvd. and Milton St. and the Silver Spigot bar, also at Morena and Milton. When I used to eat meat in the 1970’s I would get sirloin steak there cheap.
The reason I don’t have an ocean view is I didn’t make it big in life to have an oceanfront place in La Jolla, also I wasn’t lucky enough find a house in Bay Park with a view. In my first house on Burgener Blvd. I could see the ocean if I climbed onto my roof. When I first bought my present house in 1987, I thought I had a view over a 4-foot fence. I looked westward the day I signed the papers and could see both the bay and the ocean. Yippee! But while my house was in escrow, my next-door neighbor put up a 6-foot fence and there went my view. Then he moved to Samoa.
Well, sometimes I have a view. As I bounce down Milton St. to buy gas, towards City Chevrolet and the railroad tracks, I can see the bay and the actual Pacific Ocean, getting bigger and bigger. Also, as soon as I start to zoom back up the hill towards my house, I look in the rear view mirror and I see my view again, getting smaller and smaller!
My Burgener Blvd. house had a huge back yard and many lizards. My cat put one into my bed one day. “Bay Park Charmer” read the real estate ad . This was 1979. Unfortunately, most of the traffic on Burgener Blvd. consisted of drivers who had poor eyesight. They thought the speed limit was 65, not 25mph. They would come tearing up Milton St., take out a bus bench or cement wall, and veer onto Burgener. One of them totaled my newly painted car parked at the curb. When I canvassed the street about the speeding, about 80% of the residents said “What a coincidence! I had a car totaled too.” The mayor told me I shouldn’t try to “impede the flow of traffic.”
After 9 years of Burgener Blvd. with speeding buses, cars, motorcycles and noise and gas fumes and my next-door teenage parolee neighbor dumping his stolen goods behind my house and throwing underwear into my bushes, I moved to Northaven Ave. (It’s spelled wrong. Is it North-aven or Nort-haven? It never did get its two h’s). I told my real estate agent I had to have it quiet and I find it exceptionally quiet here. If you don’t want to hear the sounds of nature at night, close your windows.
I guess we can call Bay Park middle class. You see many gardeners and UPS trucks here. I must confess I love watching the UPS man give my dog another package from Amazon Books or J. Crew and she proudly brings it into the house. I can’t afford a gardener.
When I first moved to my present house in 1987 I was told that we had many professionals living here – engineers, doctors, lawyers. And we now have somebody who retired from the Reader, right on my street!
Bay Park seems to be mostly Republican. I know because when I go to vote, I always look at the list of voters posted at the polling place. That way I can know just who is saying “Good morning” to me on the street and who to go to if I need to borrow money. You can do this too, if you haven’t done it already. I think those lists should also show if my neighbors have bachelor’s degrees, master’s or PhD.s and in what field of study. Maybe what magazines they subscribe to.
Bay Park is heaven for solicitors. Also for house and car break-ins. The scammers think we have a few bucks if we live here, so they are out to get you one way or another. Two of the crooks turned out to live on our street. Mother and son. Even after they moved, we still have break-ins. This time it’s got to be outsiders. Everybody who lives here is not a crook. It is true that in the 2008 election my election signs were stolen from my lawn but I feel sorry for whoever did that. He must have felt insecure.
People argue about the name of our neighborhood. Some people like Bay Park as a name, others prefer Western Hills. Some people think Western Hills sounds more exclusive than Bay Park. I personally don’t care. I’m wondering if we could compromise and Mon., Wed. and Fri. call ourselves Bay Park and Tues., Thurs. and Sat. call ourselves Western Hills. Or maybe put it up to a vote between Bay Hills and Western Park.
The main noise that disturbs me is Sea World 4th of July fireworks. Some neighbors love fireworks and go look at them from their backyards or decks or rooftops. The fact that I hate the fireworks, that I think they pollute the ocean and terrorize dogs within a 10-square-mile radius, remind me of a bad version of the War of 1812 Overture and should be outlawed, shows how people can disagree in this wonderful country.
Bay Park has a mixture of dog lovers and dog haters. The dog lovers can be seen walking their dogs or taking them to the park. For 6 years I tried to get an off-leash dog area in Bay Park. Councilwoman Valerie Stallings asked us if we wanted neighborhood dog parks, and when we, like gullible fools, said yes, down came the hammer. The dog haters had strange, lively imaginations. They said dogs mauled children at the park, dogs would give us all deadly diseases and that a badminton court would be nicer. The latter was the wish of a fellow who lived next to the park. He had trouble forgetting the 1920’s. Sometimes that happens as you get older. Together with the City’s Park and Recreation Dept. and the local Recreation Council the vote was no dog park. This was called democracy in action. As for dogs mauling children, they got it backwards. Now and then a child was seen playfully wrestling a dog in the sand box. Because we never did get a bathroom at Western Hills Park children usually run into the woods to do their business. The rest of the wildlife doesn’t seem to mind. Neither do city officials. They told me a bathroom would attract weirdoes. So don’t plan on any park activities that will last more than a few hours.
Bay Park is great, but not perfect. We could use some more good restaurants and not just for carnivores. And it would be nice if we got a dog park and if the dog haters moved away. Maybe to their own private island. Otherwise, people are pretty friendly. We have block parties with lots of food. We have good cooks and we love to eat here. When I lived on Burgener, we had no crimes to discuss at our Neighborhood Watch meetings so we had regular big potlucks instead. I’m so glad I don’t live in Pacific Beach anymore. I was there back in the 50’s and 60’s. But now there is awful traffic, drunks and rapists and black chewing gum spots on the main streets. Uncivilized people.
What I like a lot about Bay Park is the breezes off the ocean. Cools it off and is good for my allergies. Also, we are centrally located. Easy trip downtown to pay my property taxes. And it’s only a hop, skip and a jump over to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s in La Jolla, and to Henry’s in Clairemont . Best of all, Fashion Valley is very close. I’m only 10 minutes away from Nordstrom’s.
-- by Helen McKenna