At the March 16 Mira Mesa Planning Group meeting/election
  • At the March 16 Mira Mesa Planning Group meeting/election
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On Monday, March 16, at the bi-annual Mira Mesa Community Planning Group board elections, hundreds of voters turned out to elect representatives for ten open seats. The unprecedented turnout was the latest indicator of a competition between the neighborhoods of Sorrento Valley and Mira Mesa.

Campaigning, rhetoric, and accusatory statements ensued, resulting in both sides taking five seats each; this was seen as a major victory for Sorrento Valley, which, until about a year ago, had no representation on the board.

The board was previously made up entirely of residents and businesses of Mira Mesa, which has about ten times the population of Sorrento Valley.

In previous elections, according to records, the number of ballots counted topped out at 13, but this year, more than 200 people crowded into a February planning group meeting to register to vote at the March election; close to that number returned to vote.

Several Sorrento Valley residents heard mention about the reason for the huge turnout from Mira Mesa (who outnumbered Sorrento Valley residents by about three to one at the polls). According to longtime homeowner and candidate for a seat on the board Wesley Snell, “A couple of people in line said that an email was sent by someone strongly urging them to show up at the polls to defeat the people from Sorrento Valley who were trying to ‘take over the board.’ The email was clear: these newcomers have only one thing on their agenda, and it isn’t concern for the welfare of Mira Mesa; it is solely about getting their ‘Sorrento Valley’ signs up!”

Sorrento Valley signage became an issue after the Mira Mesa Community Planning Group okayed the placing of “Mira Mesa” signs within the neighborhood of Sorrento Valley a year and a half ago. The signs were eventually removed after complaints were lodged, but the backlash since has included the request for Sorrento Valley signage and heightened awareness and involvement in community affairs. The Sorrento Valley Town Council was formed as a result of this new-found civic interest and has been working to promote the neighborhood identity ever since.

City planning groups weigh in on zoning and land use issues for designated areas. Sorrento Valley stretches out over three planning areas because of the large number of high-tech businesses located there. The neighborhood is included in the Mira Mesa, University, and Torrey Pines planning areas.

Disclaimer: Susan Carolin lives in Sorrento Valley and is a general member of the planning group and part of the Mira Mesa Community Planning Group election subcommittee.

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Comments

AlexClarke March 21, 2015 @ 5:31 p.m.

Sorrento Valley is a separate community from Mira Mesa. At the core is race and income. Sorrento Valley has a higher per capita income, is predominately white and the houses sell for $100k more than those in Mira Mesa. Mira Mesa is predominately Pan Asian with a lower per capita income and has higher crime rates and gang influence. While both are in San Diego they are different communities. One will find the same kind of situation with Spring Valley and Casa de Oro. Casa de Oro is north of the 94 and desperately wants to be part of La Mesa. There are no doubt other associated areas which seek their own identities based on income and race. Scripps Ranch does not want to be associated with the Mira Mar area.

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JuliaSchriber March 21, 2015 @ 10:42 p.m.

It is a common misconception that there is a noticeable difference in the racial composition between Sorrento Valley and Mira Mesa. That information is incorrect. Sorrento Valley enjoys the same racial diversity (within a few percent) as Mira Mesa. Sorrento Valley is a separate neighborhood with a high tech feel and a low residential density. The low density is primarily responsible for difference in crime rates and home values. People in Sorrento Valley do not mind the association with Mira Mesa, as the matter of fact, majority of our neighborhood is within Mira Mesa Community land development Plan.

The conflict between the neighborhoods arose when several of the Mira Mesa residents attempted to erase Sorrento Valley's neighborhood identity and name it West Mira Mesa. This attempt included changes to Google maps, Wikipedia pages and installation of "Mira Mesa" signs within the neighborhood of Sorrento Valley.

Sorrento has a very long history and had been in existence before Mira Mesa ever came to be. We are just as proud of our neighborhood as the people of Mira Mesa are proud of theirs. All we want is to keep our name and our identity! We are often called snobs because of it, but love for your neighborhood does not equal snobbery.

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ImJustABill March 22, 2015 @ 9:54 a.m.

So dumb question here:

What exactly are the dividing lines between Sorrento Valley, Sorrento Mesa, Mira Mesa?

I don't see either Sorrento Valley or Sorrento Mesa on the city's map of communities:

http://www.sandiego.gov/planning/community/profiles/index.shtml

But Sorrento Valley is shown on the police dept's neighborhood map:

http://www.sandiego.gov/police/pdf/2011policecitywidemap.pdf

Are Sorrento Valley and/or Sorrento Mesa official designations?

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JuliaSchriber March 22, 2015 @ 10:02 p.m.

Not at all a dumb question. For the City of San Diego, a "community" means a part of the city with a land development plan. Neighborhoods on the other hand are social associations and have nothing to do with land development. Sometimes they have the same boundaries, but most of the time they do not. Sorrento Valley, for example, overlays three communities: Mira Mesa, University City and Torrey Pines. Sorrento Mesa is a subarea on the Mira Mesa community plan designated for commercial development. It also falls within the neighborhood of Sorrento Valley. I am attaching a map that I have obtained from the City of San Diego Planing Department that shows the community and neighborhood overlay. I hope that map will help to clear up the boundaries.

None

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Rick_Beck March 22, 2015 @ 10:08 p.m.

To the uninformed, this author gives the appearance of being neutral but fails to report both sides of the story.

1) Past Mira Mesa Community Planning Group (MMCPG) members have included residents in the region known as Sorrento Valley. The reason MMCPG had no recent Sorrento Valley resident(s) was because no one volunteered. There was no conspiracy to shut out Sorrento Valley as the author leads you to assume. When a Sorrento Valley resident did volunteer about 18 months ago, the MMCPG had no problems immediately adding her to the board because there was an unfilled position. Here’s a lesson for everyone… get involved, volunteer, find out who makes what shots in your area. It’s up to you to ensure your interests are represented!

2) Author mentions a comment from one resident about an email to defeat the people of Sorrento Valley. What she fails to mention was that some residents of Sorrento Valley were going door to door misleading other Sorrento Valley residents with opinions and factually untrue statements. The intent was to get more Sorrento Valley candidates and voter turn-out in order for Sorrento Valley to take all 10 open positions.

3) To continue and support prior point, of the approximately 19 candidates running for open positions, about 10 were from Sorrento Valley. With the Mira Mesa neighborhood having 10 times the population, why is this candidate count so skewed! The special interest group in Sorrento Valley was clearly up to something. And I say “special interest group” because this wasn’t a battle against Sorrento Valley, it was a battle against the special interest group.

4) Author said Mira Mesa residents outnumbered Sorrento Valley residents by about 3 to 1. I was at the shindig and no one was taking polls. Susan Caroline is doing a disservice by publishing privileged inside information from the election subcommittee. But this 3 to 1 ratio again supports points 2 & 3, if it was equal then it should have been a 10 to 1 ratio. So someone in Sorrento Valley was doing a hard sell get out the vote campaign.

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Rick_Beck March 22, 2015 @ 10:08 p.m.

5) Author indicates the MMCPG approved Mira Mesa signs in Sorrento Valley, but the reference the author included concludes that it was the Maintenance Assessment District (MAD). Granted, many people do serve on both the MMCPG and MAD but thank goodness some people are volunteering to serve! See point #1, if more people volunteer then individuals wouldn’t need to fill numerous roles.

6) There is no city approved definition of San Diego neighborhood or what the boundaries are. San Diego Police precincts are named neighborhoods (view the map that is often referenced). The boundaries and names are controlled by SDPD. District 6 Chris Kate has his own definition of neighborhoods without any clearly defined boundaries. The Mayor and City Council has not defined what neighborhoods are. This essentially leaves it up to you and your neighbors to decide. I think I’ll carve out a small circle in central Mira Mesa and call it Rick’s neighborhood :) Sorrento Valley and Mira Mesa residents are welcome, just make sure you don’t refer to it as Sorrento Valley or Mira Mesa!

7) Boundaries Overlap – San Diego Community Plans, San Diego Police neighborhoods, Zip codes, San Diego Districts, San Diego Maintenance Assessment Districts, etc. all have different boundaries. They are not subsets of each other. Apples and Oranges! When people say Mira Mesa they could be referring to the community plan, the 92126 zip code, a large area of District 6, or the Maintenance Assessment District.

8) Sorrento Valley versus Mira Mesa is not a battle and should not be marketed as such. Unfortunately that is how some people view it and it tends to make the news more interesting. The whole issue was blown out of proportion two years ago by people on both sides of the debate. Unfortunately some people have not been able to trust again and will settle for nothing less then a clear divide between Sorrento Valley and Mira Mesa. Guess what, SDPD already set that divide so you win. As for the other side, the Community Plan defines it all as Mira Mesa so there, you win to.

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