People to Watch: 19 of La Jolla’s leaders share their goals for 2013
Compiled by Pat Sherman and Ashley Mackin
With the economy in dire straits, redevelopment money drying up, and shoddy streets and dwindling public services reviving the call for La Jolla to secede from San Diego, this year the La Jolla Light enlisted a robust regiment of People to Watch — and to count on to help get things done.
The following profiles highlight the talents, vision and dedication of people representing La Jolla’s business and arts communities, as well as civic leaders and the region’s top education official. Each, through his or her own contributions, is poised to help take La Jolla to the next level in 2013. Onward and upward .
• Terrence Underwood General Manager, Grande Colonial Hotel
A high priority for 2013 will be sharing the stories of the movers and shakers who have passed through our doors and helped shape the growth of the Village during the past 100 years. Our owners and management have always been and will remain committed to historic preservation. La Jolla Light readers can help us by sharing stories or photos of their personal histories with the Colonial to add to our archives.
Another of my top priorities for the year will be to continue the business success we have experienced in the past few years. Given the restructuring of the San Diego Tourism Marketing District, we have a unique opportunity to work more proactively with the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau (ConVis), tapping into significant funds they have to specifically market the La Jolla sub-region of the greater San Diego destination.
I have begun to pursue these funds with ConVis President Joe Terzi. The objective will be to build a coalition of hotel leaders within La Jolla to help direct the use of these funds to the maximum benefit of growing hotel occupancy for our community.”
“The La Jolla community welcomed us from the moment we opened our doors last February and we are so grateful,” Puesto co-owner Eric Adler said. “In 2013 we are looking forward to continuing to feed the hungry residents of La Jolla, while supporting organizations, events and schools. We want to work more closely with the Village Merchants Association to make sure La Jolla receives even more recognition, both from San Diegans and visitors, as a top destination for arts, culture and dining.
Puesto is family-owned. Myself, my brother, Alan, and our cousin, Isi Lombrozo, all live in La Jolla and graduated from La Jolla High, so we have a really special connection to this community and we want to see it continue the growth it has experienced over the last two years, with more restaurants and shops opening up, and more visitors.”
• Pradeep K. Khosla UC San Diego Chancellor
“As UC San Diego’s chancellor, my primary goal for the new year is to work with our campus and community members to develop a strategic plan that unifies and positions UC San Diego for continued greatness. We have already begun our brainstorming sessions on campus and gatherings for the greater San Diego region are planned for early in 2013.
It is important that this initiative is a bottom-up, inclusive and collaborative process, and that everyone has an opportunity to share ideas and give input — faculty, staff, students, alumni, university supporters and UC San Diego friends. Our campus has flourished and evolved into a world-renowned research university because of the vision of our founders, the talent of our campus members, and the support of our community. You have helped to define our past and I want you to help to define our future. To get involved, visit plan.ucsd.edu
UC San Diego must continue to be a campus that acts locally but has a global impact. We must serve our community by providing top-quality education to the next generation of leaders, translating cutting- edge discoveries into meaningful innovation and cures that will improve lives, while contributing to the local economy through the creation of new products, jobs, companies and industries. … We will continue to work together as we strengthen the relationship between the campus and the community.”
• Sherri Lightner Newly re-elected District 1 City Council representative
“The coming year is going to be full of exciting new challenges for the city and District 1. As many people know, my key citywide priorities are economic development and ensuring our future water supply. As chair of the Rules and Economic Development Committee, I am proud that I will continue to lead the City Council’s efforts to craft a long-term vision for San Diego’s economy — one that embraces creativity, sustainability and innovation.
Meanwhile, the Water Policy Task Force, which is in charge of implementing my Comprehensive Water Policy, is hard at work looking for ways to ensure that San Diego will have the water supply it needs to protect our quality of life and grow our economy. I look forward to the Task Force’s recommendations and hope the city will act quickly on everything from encouraging gray water reuse to innovative conservation efforts to new technologies such as desalination.
In La Jolla, it is imperative that city and state officials come together to find a common sense solution to the ongoing odor issue at the Cove.
While the recent, heavy rains have mitigated the issue somewhat, we know this is only a short-term solution and that we must continue to work diligently to find a long-term answer that is both mindful of the environmental significance of this area as well as its importance to the local tourism economy.
Finally, I would like to see La Jollans come together to identify and prioritize much-needed infrastructure projects in the community and also explore innovative public-private partnerships to help make these projects not just a wish list, but a reality.
With the creation of the City Council’s new Infrastructure Committee, on which I serve as vice chair, we as a city and as a com- munity will be able to have a meaningful dialogue about how to tackle La Jolla’s infrastructure issues. I encourage all residents and business owners to become part of that im- portant conversation in the coming months.”
Bob Filner Mayor of San Diego
“I am honored to be San Diego’s 35th mayor, and to deliver on my pledge during the campaign to put neighborhoods first.I am going to listen to the people, giving everyone a ‘seat at the table.’ What is important to you and your families in improving your quality of life is important to me.
La Jolla is one of the most beautiful areas of our city, but the reality is residents are dealing with severely damaged roads and potholes that take their toll, parks that need to be maintained and lifeguard towers that need to be improved. I want to improve all of San Diego and there is a lot of work to be done. I will work to improve the infrastructure in your neighborhoods.
I also treasure the historic La Jolla Post Office on Wall Street. I was there with protestors earlier this year because I believe in preserving our past and having respect for the beautiful buildings that remind us of the importance of taking care of our neighborhoods.
Let’s work together. When we take action towards a common goal and adopt a can-do attitude of working together for the greater good, we can accomplish anything. We have a tough job ahead. But it is a new day and we’re going to listen to all voices — yours included.”
• Scott Peters 52nd District Congressman
“Congress is broken because of the commitment to partisanship and extremism that’s taken hold over the past couple decades. It is vital that we take a new approach to solving to all of our national challenges, including the tax code, Medicare and Social Security, energy, the environment and everything else. … My goal is that problem-solving becomes the norm, and not the exception in Congress.
In La Jolla, my goal is to save the (Wall Street) post office. I hope that if the building is sold, the post office might lease back the existing stamp sales and shipping area to preserve that longstanding and historic use in the Village.
As a La Jollan and as a member of our historical society, I can be an effective advocate on our behalf. Also, I would love to be helpful in resolving the odor problem near the Cove. Although this is more a creature of state law than federal law, the notion that natural organic material generated by ocean birds can’t be allowed into the ocean strikes me as, well, unnatural.”
“My top professional goal for next year is completing the commercialization of a shatterproof safety glass that can be cut, and is offered in any color or image.
As the President of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association, my two priorities are to enable La Jolla to reestablish its sense of community and revitalize the core business area.
To achieve my two goals we need to establish a single community organization that can bring together all the many organizations in La Jolla under one umbrella. A single representative body will give us the power to bring the needs of our community to the attention of the City of San Diego. A single body representing just La Jolla will also enable us to manage the change and growth of the commercial center in a harmonious way that comprehensively serves our community.
The La Jolla Village Merchants Association has established the La Jolla Information Center at 1162 Prospect St. (which was slated to open Wednesday, Jan. 2.) This center is being offered by the businesses in La Jolla as a focal point for the community to use to establish an organization.
A new organization can achieve consensus on how we want to shape the future of our community and communicate that vision with one voice to the city. We would like the readers of the La Jolla Light to visit the center and share their thoughts, and offer their support and suggestions on what this community-based voice should be.
We (also need to) halt the urban decay that is our crumbling infrastructure. Keep the areas around your businesses and homes clear of trash. Establish and manage colorful plantings around the Village.
Whilst the La Jolla Village Merchants Association is developing a plan to beautify the Village by establishing a pilot project of sidewalk beatification outside the Information Center, it requires a community effort to improve our surroundings and the quality of life in La Jolla. Become involved — join in the movement and let’s take control of our own destiny.”
• Leslie Davis Chair, Save Our La Jolla Post Office Task Force and the La Jolla Historical Society Preservation Committee
An omnipresent advocate for the preservation of La Jolla’s past, Davis said her number one priority this year (which she built a solid foundation upon in 2012) is to save the Wall Street post office from being sold or redeveloped in a manner that is not in the community’s interest.
Her other priorities include spearheading the completion of an online database of La Jolla’s potentially historic “resources,”
An including homes, buildings and landscape elements that were originally inventoried between 2002 and 2004.
“This will make the information accessible to all community members and, hopefully, positively influence preservation, restoration and rehabilitation, rather than inappropriate demolition and replacement of our heritage,” Davis said. “There are more than 3,700 ‘resource’ addresses which were documented in Microsoft Word-based forms, but not translated to a searchable database format. The task of preparing the files and the database has been daunting but continues to be a priority requiring thousands of volunteer hours. 2013 is the year!”
Davis also hopes to raise La Jollans’ awareness of how the preservation of historic structures can increase the enjoyment of a community by both residents and visitors.
“The sad and sudden disappearance of Windemere cottage, La Jolla’s oldest structure built by Master Architect Irving Gill, was an irreplaceable loss for La Jolla’s history. It is critical that we learn from this failure to protect a sacred community resource,” she said. “La Jollans can help by learning about the historic resources in their own neighborhoods. This knowledge often adds a layer of quality to a daily walk or a conversation with a neighbor.
“Of course, we are desperate for help, so volunteering with the Preservation Committee of the La Jolla Historical Society would be a great contribution. The unexpected threat to the La Jolla post office has set some of our other priorities to the side, and only man-hours will get us back on track. We need data entry, voices in community and city planning meetings, storytellers, organizers, illustrators, architects, activists and funds to creatively stem the steady loss of our significant historic touchstones.”
Visit lajollahistory.org for more information.
• Melinda Merryweather Eagle-eyed community activist, secessionist, art director, commercial actress, grandmother of four
Melinda Merryweather, the La Jollan who first questioned why nothing was being done to combat the Cove stench issue, said her primary wish for La Jolla this year is that “someone comes forward with the necessary funds to be the founder of the City of La Jolla, and we get on with it and finally become our own city. It is possible! There is still time to save the soul of La Jolla.”
Merryweather said she also hopes the seals “find a much better home along the coast that has more food, that gives them more space and a natural environment.
“I hope the Children’s Pool gets returned to the children as intended. It is one of the best places to learn to swim and dive and snorkel in all of California, and we should be honoring that.
“I would hope that wisdom wins out and the fence comes down at La Jolla Cove and people are allowed back on the rocks at their own risk. It will then return to what it was — an open space with very few birds and no stench.
“I would hope (more) historic homes could be saved, and that the city could find a pot hole product that lasts more than five months. As a biker I hope that the city does something about the mess that our alleys and sidewalks are. I hope the historic beach access at Princess Street is (reinstated) for all. If we become our own city, all this could come true!”
“My New Year’s wish for all? You know all the things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go do them.”
• Phyllis Minick Chair, La Jolla Parks & Beaches, Inc. Beautification Committee
“In 2013, my first goal is to inspire community participation in the rebuilding of Coast Boulevard Walk at the Children’s Pool. To accomplish that goal, I must raise $250,000. This project, sponsored by La Jolla Parks & Beaches, Inc., is enthusiastically advocated by all La Jolla’s civic organizations that make recommendations to the City of San Diego and agreed to by the city’s leaders.
Now more than ever, our communities need safe, tranquil parks where outdoor activities, healthy exercise and opportunities to learn about nature are available. That is my motivation for this project.
Additionally, since my profession is communication in the sciences, I hope to implement a longstanding goal of improving children’s writing in math, science and inventions. To write clearly, one must understand the subject. These skills directly impact each child’s concept of the world and ability to create improvements.
As communities unite to build, teach and learn, and when each of us becomes a resource for others, we gain some hope of achieving peace.”
Nelson says the Village of La Jolla and its needs have taken a back seat to major political events occurring at the national and local level. “The result? Our beautiful Village looks tired, trash collects next to curbs, trees need trimming and general sloppiness is apparent. Pride among our citizens is expressed, but we are all distracted with other priorities.
“We were fortunate last year to start on a long-term beautification project by enlisting the financial aid of some of La Jolla’s residents. With the funds we raised we were able to pave the ‘teardrop’ as you enter town via La Jolla Parkway near the fire station. With the help of Tony Crisafi as designer and, most important, contributions from many wonderful Texans who love La Jolla as a second home (we fulltime La Jollans donated, too!), we were able to navigate city approvals and complete this roadwork for about 25 percent of what city wanted to do the same work!
“Our new goal is to create and fund a ‘cleanup crew’ for our Village area. Activities will include landscape trimming and sweeping, etc. In order to make this happen we need to obtain city approvals, provide oversight through the La Jolla Community Foundation, hire the right crew, and obtain the correct insurance. We estimate this will cost about $50,000 to $100,000 for the first year.
“We have volunteers ready to (provide management). The Village Merchant’s Association has embraced the idea. Now we need donations to get the ball rolling!
“This is only the first step. Additional needs for La Jolla include pothole repair and expanding this clean-up effort to other well- traveled streets in our community and residential areas. The La Jolla Community Foundation is determined to include this in our 2013 goals.
“As president and owner of Willis Allen Real Estate, I see so many homes in our La Jolla neighborhoods express pride of ownership. This is a trademark in our community. I want to see the same reflected in our Village.”
• Cindy Greatrex President, La Jolla Town Council and Independent La Jolla (cityhood effort)
“In 2013, my main goal is to continue polishing ‘The Jewel’ in any way that I can, working in concert with my wonderful colleagues around the Village.
The La Jolla Town Council’s focus remains as a civic organization providing La Jollans with a forum for debate, discussion and action on community concerns, as well as advising local, state and federal governments of the community’s position on these issues. We will do our utmost to bring forward topics of strong interest to the community as a whole, and to provide a platform for all community members to contribute to the dialogue and have their voices heard.
In its third decade, Independent La Jolla remains a vital source of information for those residents interested in how any village becomes a city through the state process of special reorganization.
I am also blessed to continue working on the board of the La Jolla Community Center, a long- cherished La Jolla institution that fulfills its mission to provide cultural, social, learning and fitness activities to adults of all ages.
There are so many unsung volunteer heroes in our Village — too many to possibly list here — but I will say that it is an honor and privilege to work with them all, and I look forward to continue doing so in 2013.”
• Christine Forester Owner, Christine Forester Catalyst
“For the past six years, I have had the privilege to serve President Obama and his administration … sitting on his National Finance Committee, the President’s Committee for the Arts and the Humanities, Common Purpose Project and Unity Fund. … This has motivated me to juggle the challenges of political activism, along with the demands of maintaining my office, Christine Forester Catalyst, a business, marketing, branding and community affairs company.
Even while serving national interests, San Diego has remained one of my heart’s priorities. We live in a city with evolving demographics that belie its national image of a conservative enclave south of Los Angeles. Today, San Diego is like a gigantic puzzle. … There are known pieces readily identified — among them, the ocean and the beaches, our idyllic climate, our world-famous zoo, UCSD, the Salk Institute and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. But there are many more pieces that form our evolving identity: our cutting-edge biotech, high- tech, wireless-tech and software research companies, the 600-plus businesses focused on innovation in sports equipment, our renowned academic institutions, and a vibrant arts community that includes theaters that incubate Broadway hits.
Like a thoughtfully reasoned business plan, the San Diego puzzle needs to be assembled. From laborers to entrepreneurs, we should take pride in the role each of us play in our city’s overall image, as no puzzle is ever complete without all of its parts, from its core to its outer edges.
With a creative marketing plan, we could enhance San Diego’s brand in ways that would project our city to the nation and the global community as the dynamic hub that it is. San Diego is a city bursting with never- ending opportunities — and La Jolla holds a key part in the pivotal role San Diego is called upon to play going forth. Personally and professionally, I am looking forward to joining other like-minded people in evolving our framework of creativity and innovation and to heralding our city’s assets to set San Diego ahead of and apart from other megalopolises.”
ART & DESIGN
• Hugh Davies Director, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla Community Foundation
“Art is a necessity, not a luxury. I want the museum to be an integral part of our La Jolla community. … Today, more than ever, I want to connect the museum to every person in La Jolla in some tangible way, whether through our special exhibitions and historical collection or through our education programs and special events. This is La Jolla’s museum. I want to provide more access to the arts for San Diegans. Access to the arts is becoming increasingly valuable as arts education is removed from schools and opportunities to find freedom in creative expression dwindle. We’ve worked toward this goal with ongoing initiatives, such as the Extended School Partnership (ESP) program and our 25 & Under Free Admission program.
Thanks to the Qualcomm Foundation, we’re able to waive admission to everyone in this age range at the museum. This allows us to roll out our welcome mat to students and young people everywhere. Another one of the museum’s important programs is our ESP program, which helps encourage arts-based learning in the classroom.
Additionally, we plan to extend our evening hours in the summer at the La Jolla location to welcome busy professionals, who may be working during the day, and community members who want to enjoy culture as part of their evening out.”
“One of my top goals for 2013 is to focus more on family and friends, enjoy life and complete the first phase of the ‘Murals of La Jolla’ project.
My goal for the ‘Murals of La Jolla’ project is to complete the funding and installation of the first 16 murals. Secondly, to establish an annual funding campaign, which will allow rotation of the murals on a quarterly basis and expand the project to other parts of San Diego.
This public project not only enhances the community of La Jolla, but it adds to greater San Diego.
My two other priorities for La Jolla would be to solve the parking (situation) and add additional pedestrian- friendly areas for walking, eating and enjoying La Jolla.
I know it has been discussed several times, but the area located between the La Jolla Inn, Living Room coffee house and bounded by Girard Avenue and Prospect Street lends itself to a wonderful outside pedestrian area. The traffic could be rerouted and a non-vehicular pedestrian area could be created (the ‘Belvedere Promenade’). The pedestrian area would incorporate outdoor dining with a park-like atmosphere located in the center of La Jolla. I have several ideas of how this could be accomplished and will work with the La Jolla Community Foundation to see if they can be accomplished.
My vision for La Jolla is to create a synergy between the Stuart Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art and ‘Murals of La Jolla.’”
• Jennifer Luce Founder, Luce et Studio Architects
“Our goal for 2013 is to expand the boundaries of our design practice. La Jolla has been such an important place for me to think, to make and to develop an independent point of view about how design can better our cultural condition.
Quite simply, good design ought to be found in our cities, our homes and in everything we touch. We want to make a difference at every scale — from buildings to furniture and products.
So many pivotal things are happening in our community this coming year: the opening of the new central library downtown, the celebration of art as the Murals of La Jolla project ramps up its collection, the expansion of scientific research at Salk Institute and at UCSD. All these events point to a coming burst of energy for our city. I hope this means that we will finally pool all of our creative resources to make San Diego a force in the coming critical decade of change.”
“My primary business goals for 2013 are pretty much what they have been since I opened my La Jolla gallery in 1981, which is to present exhibitions of the best possible contemporary art that I can. I plan in 2013 to take my exhibitions up a notch or two by adding a couple of international artists to my roster, and I hope to find a few more great women artists to work with.
In my personal life, I plan to walk more, drive less, swim in the ocean often and garden more — literally take the time to smell the roses.
My vision for La Jolla is to see this town more appreciated for its uniqueness and not gentrified by the Starbucks mall culture that seems to turn every town into beige-colored, carbon copies of each other. I think we should celebrate the individual nature of this area’s eclectic homes and cottages, small shops, family-owned restaurants and places like the Athenaeum and our Museum of Contemporary Art. I guess my goal is to help somehow to advertise La Jolla’s basic, fantastic and unique qualities.”
• Lorna York Owner, Madison Gallery, Village Merchants Association board member
“My top goal is to see La Jolla Village thriving. I am very fortunate to have created an art gallery in such a magical village, which I call home. I am honored to be on the La Jolla Village Merchants Association team led by Sheila Fortune and Phil Coller. I see my role as creating interest from high-end luxury boutiques that might not have otherwise taken an interest in La Jolla.
Because of my many travels to the Hamptons, Saint Tropez, Monte Carlo and Palm Beach, I envision our Village as a high-end luxury resort on the beach, and I look forward to filling all of the vacant spaces. I will be working to generate new revenue for our Village throughout my two-year term.
My first goal, personally and professionally, is to remain grateful for all — including challenges throughout the year. For it is the challenges that truly make our business and personal lives grow. I am grateful for the clients who enjoy my vision in art and support my artists and my all- female staff, which inspires me and enriches my life daily. I will end with a Stella McCartney quote: ‘Behind every great woman, there is a great … woman!’ ”
- Events net 100 letters urging Issa to help save post office
- Congressman introduces largely symbolic bill to save La Jolla post office
- 2012: A Year Like No Other in La Jolla
- Task force buys more time in effort to delay La Jolla post office sale
- Postal Work
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