By Kathy Day
La Jolla’s Coastal Access and Parking Board account is whole again — after a roundabout series of events that culminated in settlement of a claim against Promote La Jolla and some of its current and former directors.
Last week, Rick Wildman — on behalf of what remains of PLJ — received a check for $3,999.01 from First Republic Bank, resolving the last apparent issue surrounding the organization’s dispute with the bank over funds that are to be used to assist with parking and traffic issues in La Jolla.
When PLJ failed to pay $65,000 that was due on a line of credit used to fund a La Jolla marketing campaign, the bank took the money to cover the debt. It had been held in a certificate of deposit under Promote La Jolla’s name, meant for Coast Access expenses. There was $3,999.01 left after the debt was covered. When Wildman received that check he returned it because he disputed the bank’s taking of the money.
Joe LaCava, who heads the Coastal Access board,” explained that the group has “a narrow mission to improved the quality of parking” and create a shuttle system to bring people to the Village and the shoreline from “remote parking lots.” However, they have not come up with a financially viable solution to a shuttle system so that money is held in reserve in a city account.
It currently subsidizes parking for about 100 employees in the Village, using funds from developers that go into a special fund under a California Coastal Commission requirement that they must offset the impacts of their projects. The fund — now totaling about $440,000, according to LaCava — also previously provided reduced-cost bus passes to Village workers.
The $65,000 was embroiled in the city auditor’s report that Promote La Jolla had misused city funds as well as in a claim filed by the City Attorney. The claim was settled when PLJ’s insurance company agreed to cover the costs, which totaled $112,070.
The city has since received the $65,000 and, now that the money issues are resolved, the parking board has held its first meeting in months and is gearing up to take another look at possible shuttle options.
“It’s time to dust off the ideas and see if we can find different ways” to come up with a remote parking solution,” LaCava said.
At a meeting on Feb. 2, the group spent some time explaining its operations and mission to Phil Coller, president of the newly formed La Jolla Village Merchants Association. Assuming the group accomplishes its goal of becoming the city-approved operator of the La Jolla business improvement district, it is likely they will have appointees on the parking board to replace PLJ’s members.