Normal Heights Elementary School Opens Playground, Sparks Protest

Setting aside whether members of the protesting crowd were acting respectfully or not, the issue of shared or joint use might be categorized into three distinct periods or types of uses. 1. During and 30 minutes before and after regular school hours the whole area is only open for school staff, students, and approved visitors. The changes to the joint uses may result in additional clean up of the grounds, and though it is unlikely, there also may be someone "left-over" in the area that would necessitate informing them to leave. It is likely that as more people use a facility, additional costs of maintenance will result. That's a cost we all/tax payers incur for providing public meeting and play spaces. The joint use of schools is VERY common in the Mid City - Grant, Franklin, Adams, etc. 2. During times when youth educational, recreational, or child-care type activities are scheduled after school hours, there is now and should continue to be adult supervision on-hand. I was told by the school principal at a public meeting (attended by several of the parents involved in the gate-access blocking) held three days before the Friday opening, that the adult supervision for the after-school/6 to 6 program is at least one adult to every 16 children. This is hardly a situation where children are unprotected. 3. During the bulk of the time that is supposed to be available for the public (by the way by "public" is meant law abiding people of any age, racial, ethnic, faith or income level. Illegal behavior by anyone is not allowed, right?). As with any public park, recreation, or other public area, young children should be under appropriate adult supervision. Older children and even adults benefit from proper education/training about how to deal with strangers. I am pretty sure that neither the City Park and Recreation Dept nor the SD School Disctrict should be expected to provide the child care that parents should be providing unless for special programs. Locking everyone, including parents with children from use of this joint use - and attractive facility - during times when school is out, seems to be a huge waste of very scarce resources; public recreatio space. Our neighborhood is populated with many people that are strangers to each other. Public meeting and recreation areas are beneficial to us all as a community when they are visited by and properly used by the widest possible variety of members of that community. I encourage parents who are apparently suffering from fear of strangers ("stranger-danger") to use the new recreation spaces with or without their children; help us make and keep Normal Heights a good and vibrant place to mingle with our neighbors... not to hide away our public assets behind fences.
— March 14, 2012 12:51 p.m.

Ollie's Big Bike Ride

Thanks for an entertaining and encouraging story!! I bet some more people might try out bicycling thanks to this. I bet Ollie and others would find easier routes by bringing along and actually using the San Diego Region Bike Map available FREE by calling 1-800-266-6883. The map shows where the Bike Lanes, Bike Paths, Bike Routes and other suggested roads are - helpful for avoiding some hills, buses, etc. The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition is pretty much leading the local efforts to get more money for bicycling improvements. Check 'em out at And they have free courses for improving bicyclists skills... avoiding the doe-se-doe with buses... for free! Lastly, about Ollie's "pipe dread"... L.A. has tried the center of the road separated bike routing, other cities are trying to find ways to segregate bicycling from motor vehicle traffic. My take, separate ain't equal. Providing choices for what to ride on (paths, sidewalks, bike lanes, trails, shared roads) makes sense lots of times, but I don't want to be forced off of the roads, usually the most direct routes to everywhere! Thanks again. Jim Baross
— February 9, 2008 10:24 a.m.

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