Cindy Greatrex leads the charge to make The Gem its own city

Cindy Greatrex is the president of Independent La Jolla, a community organization comprised of citizens united by the desire to best preserve La Jolla’s great historic and environmental jewels via self-governance and lessened reliance on the City of San Diego.

Greatrex is active in the field of telemedicine, an application of clinical medicine where patients in war-torn or geographically remote areas receive immediate medical diagnosis.

She also the executive director of a foundation focused on assisting children in need of cochlear implants, via fund-raising, technology research and regulatory support.

What brought you to La Jolla?

La Jolla is an internationally recognized hub of medical technology research, which interests me both professionally and personally. We have the Salk Institute and abundant medical research facilities along the Torrey Pines corridor.

As example, next month I am attending the Comprehensive Stroke Centers of Excellence conference in La Jolla. It is a global event and most participants are flying in from far and wide. As for me, I am walking there.

And of course, the sheer physical beauty of the topography in La Jolla is astounding. The first time I drove through town, on what was meant to be a day trip, I stopped the car in the middle of Coast and said: “Where do I sign”? My reaction was that immediate and that visceral.

What makes the town special to you?

I am continually amazed by the philanthropy in La Jolla, which takes many forms and is produced by people who seek no acclaim for their efforts. The Rotary, St. Germain … too many to list here.

I am a member of the San Diego/Jalalabad Sister Cities Foundation and in that guise I see people who enter dangerous lands to support a civilian populous that is economically downtrodden to provide them with schools, health facilities and hope. I was raised with the belief that to inhabit this Earth, you need to pay rent. I am endlessly inspired by those who pay more than their share.

If you could have it done, what might you improve in the area?

Our infrastructure is poor. The coastline topography is stunning beyond belief, but the manmade maintenance of same is lacking.

Road surfacing, beach cleanliness and water run-off are recurrent issues. If I could snap my fingers for change, I would like the outcome to reflect thoughtful governance that maintains the bounty that we have all been given, for the benefit of our children and grandchildren.

At Independent La Jolla, we are vetting ways in which our infrastructure could be improved via lessened reliance on the City of San Diego.

Who or what inspires you?

Actually, my personal heroine is Marlo Thomas. To many, she is an actress. Yet in truth, she is the driving force behind St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, arguably one of the best charities in the country.

In one given day, Thomas will raise a million dollars at an event, and then stop off later that same day to deliver a requested toy to a young patient. And she sees equal value in both of these acts.

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