Near Windansea Beach on Tuesday, January 12, at about 10:00 a.m., I spotted what appeared to be a construction project at the intersection of Neptune and Playa Del Sur. I stopped to speak with Jose Sanchez and learned that he and a crew of three others were repairing the sidewalk and storm drain.
When I asked Sanchez if there was anything else he could tell me about the project he said, “Citizens called in to complain. There's an existing sidewalk. We’re just pouring cement.” He then added, “Technically, we’re not supposed to talk with any media people. We have an information officer you can call…Bill Harris.”
Sanchez was kind enough to make a call (unasked) and provide me with that number. I called the number as soon as I got back to my car and Bill Harris answered the phone.
“Hi, I’m Carolyn, a neighborhood stringer with the San Diego Reader. I just stopped by Neptune and Playa Del Sur in La Jolla and saw a sidewalk and storm-drain repair in progress and was wondering if you could give me a bit of information about it.”
“Carolyn…city policy is to not talk with anyone from the Reader. If you’d like, you can call the mayor’s office and speak with the media team. If the policy has been changed, I’ll be glad to talk with you,” said Harris.
“Sorry to hear that, I wasn’t aware of such a policy,” I said. Per Harris, the policy has been in place for approximately four years. When I asked what had transpired four years ago that could have resulted in the implementation of such a policy, Harris said, "no comment.”
I apologized to Harris for whatever happened in the past, anxious to share my “peace-pipe” with him and the City, to begin friendlier relations.
I phoned the mayor’s office and asked to speak with the “media team,” as Harris had suggested. I was connected with a woman by the name of Christina. I explained the situation to her and asked if she knew whether or not the policy of “not speaking with anyone from the Reader” was still in place. Christina said, “I wouldn’t be the one to talk with about that.” I asked if she could connect me with someone who could help me find out a bit more. Christina asked for my contact information and said she would have Darren Pudgil — director of communications for Mayor Jerry Sanders — get back to me.
It’s now Thursday. I've called the mayor's office twice and have yet to receive a return call. And to think I thought I was just going to write a little neighborhood news story about a sidewalk and storm-drain renovation.