Burgers & Brews, set for Oct. 28 at Scripps Park to kick off the Breeders’ Cup in Del Mar, has been canceled. The fundraiser had the support of La Jolla’s Traffic & Transportation and Parks & Beaches advisory boards, but La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) vice president Brett Murphy said organizers changed their minds about holding the event in La Jolla.
“We were having these great meetings with these event-planning companies, which actually owned the rights to the name Burgers & Brews,” he told fellow merchants at the group’s Oct. 11 meeting, “but they came back to us and said, ‘You know what? We’re not really going to allocate the money toward this. We’re going to spend it somewhere else.’ ”
Murphy called the loss a “good news/bad news thing” because “we have a great relationship with these event planners now.” Among the future events he hopes to schedule is a yoga-mindfulness/steps-to-wellness where two sets of 1,000 participants are walked through The Village to different merchants specializing in fitness and wellness. Murphy said the event “is in the distance.”
Addressing the homeless situation
Also at the meeting, Cynthia Chasan, La Jolla Neighborhood Watch coordinator and co-chair of La Jolla Town Council Crime Watch Committee, explained “the real reason” police don’t respond to complaints about homeless people in La Jolla: There aren’t enough police willing to work for “the lowest pay in California.”
“They had that freeze from Proposition B, which we all voted on, that prevented them from having a pay increase and a pensionable pay increase,” Chasan said. “Even San Diego State University pays more than the San Diego Police Department does ... And it costs us $197,000 just to train each one in (our) academy, and we’re losing them pretty much the day they finish because we can’t compel them to work in San Diego.
“We put 30 officers out in a quarter and we lose 65, so this problem is not going to get better for us,” Chasan said.
Chasan was added to the agenda on the spot following a rather fruitless chat with a deputy city attorney who did not represent La Jolla. Ann Marie Council, who represents the Northeastern Division, was asked to fill in at the last minute for San Diego Police officer Joe Hilton, who was called downtown.
Council provided suggestions for dealing with the burgeoning homeless population that seemed familiar to most LJVMA board members — chief among them obtaining a letter of agency from the police. This standing document states that no one has permission to sleep on your property and gives police the right to enter your property to tell anyone to move who claims such permission.
LJVMA president James Niebling explained that the problem isn’t sleeping on properties, but disrupting business during business hours. “Whether it’s disrupting traffic or people yelling and screaming, to call the homeless outreach team, you either get ‘The mailbox is full’ or no answer, 211 refers you back to the hotline, and the non-emergency number, you don’t really have anyone show up for hours, if at all that day,” he said.
All LJVMA could promise was to bring these concerns up to Police Northern Division.
Association offices moving
LJVMA executive director Sheila Fortune announced that she’s negotiating a lease inside the Coast Walk above Acquavite Ristorante Italiano, and hopes to move LJVMA offices there by the first week of November.