People in Your La Jolla Neighborhood: Meet Bird Rock community organizer Ron Fineman

Editor’s Note: La Jolla Light’s “People in Your Neighborhood” series shines a spotlight on notable locals we all wish we knew more about! Light staff is out on the town talking to familiar faces to bring you their stories. If you know someone you’d like us to profile, send the lead via e-mail to editor@lajollalight.com or call us at (858) 875-5950.

In the two years he’s been a resident of La Jolla, real estate broker and community organizer Ron Fineman has made an impact on the community, especially in Bird Rock. This 56-year-old who wears colorful socks and aviator glasses was raised in Los Angeles and moved to La Jolla in 2015.

How did you become involved with the community?

“I figured it’s a good way to meet people, and it’s interesting. Bird Rock is like a dream.”

Why did you decide to move to Bird Rock?

“I knew San Diego because my family is all here. In the 1980s and ’90s I sold computers and software and I came to San Diego a lot. Then, my brother moved here, and my dad followed when there were grandchildren. My husband, Warren, was born here. He grew up in Orange County, but his dad moved back here, as well, in the late ’80s.

We had a lot of ties to San Diego; we were coming here every holiday, every birthday, driving on the I-405 and I-5, not loving it. And then, as our parents got older, we decided that we would move here to be close to them. When I came down here to interview for a job, I knew that La Jolla is where we wanted to be, but I only knew The Village. I drove through Bird Rock and thought, ‘What is this place?’ Because tourists don’t usually come down here. I ended up getting an apartment in WindanSea for a couple months while we were getting ready to sell our house (in LA), and I thought Bird Rock was out of reach, but I looked at a condo here, and we loved it, we’ve lived here ever since.”

Talk about your community involvement.

“I joined the Bird Rock Community Council (BRCC) last year. I started by volunteering, delivering the newsletters at the end of 2015, and joined the board at the beginning of 2016. The big thing this year was the Bird Rock Tour of Homes, an event that happened in January where ticket holders could go into six Bird Rock houses that were not on the market. We had a great turnout, and raised over $9,000 for Bird Rock Elementary School.

The other big thing was starting Sunsets on the Boulevard. April 17 was the first one and it happened again May 12, and it will be held 5-8 p.m. every second Friday through October. It’s an event where the merchants are open late, everyone’s got specials, coupons.”

How are you connected to La Jolla Safety?

“I’m one of the co-founders. Crime has increased significantly here in La Jolla. Our police force is highly understaffed, and so petty crimes are not dealt with, nor are robberies, some burglaries, car and bike thefts. Police just aren’t going to respond. I had some things stolen out of our garage — my car was cleaned out, and our bikes, which were locked to the rack, were stolen. It’s somewhat personal, it’s not like these things were that big of a deal, but this is some of the chatter we see on NextDoor.com, about public safety, and how our neighborhood has gone from safer to not so safe. You can’t leave your door or windows open. That’s how La Jolla Safety was born.

And then it’s really about the residents stepping up and participating. I will say that one of the frustrations I’ve had is I don’t have direct access to the Neighborhood Watch captains in Bird Rock, so it’s hard for me to get people to sign up. We’ve received about half (25) of the sign-ups we need (to get a private security patrol started). We do have an anonymous donor that I believe will donate enough cash for some events to get more people to sign up.

We’re not giving up yet, if we can’t launch La Jolla Safety by September, we will probably refund all the money to the people who’ve signed up. If we can’t launch it in Bird Rock, we’ll attempt to launch it in another part of La Jolla.”

What do you do for fun?

“I live for travel. I’m obsessed. We do different kinds of travel. We own an RV. I grew up with one, and when Warren and I got together in 1994, we started camping. After four or five years, we bought a travel trailer with eight beds because we figured we would bring my brother, the kids … and the funny thing is, everybody wanted to sleep outside! So when we decided to invest in a larger RV, we bought a 32-foot fifth wheel and our little joke is ‘Cocktails for six, dinner for four, sleeps two.’ We love Anza Borrego, Silver Strand State Beach in Coronado ... we’re going to Crystal Cove in Newport Beach … some day in the future when we retire, we will go to Alaska and Yellowstone, take trips to the East Coast.

We also love to travel by plane. We’ve been to 20 countries in Europe. We love cruises, the Caribbean. I always want to be planning the next trip. We have Galapagos, Vietnam, Iceland on our list for the next few years.”

What do you do for a living?

“I got my Real Estate broker’s license in 2010, it’s a second career for me. One of the fun things about living in La Jolla and selling real estate here is that there are very fun homes. Before being a broker, I sold computer and desktop software. I was a sales rep pretty much right out of college, I started working for a software company and I started doing sales. I traveled with work for many years, and then when I settled at home, I slowed it down. I sold many interesting things over the years, I sold CD-RAM servers and jukeboxes before the Internet.”

How long have you been married?

“We just had our 22 anniversary. We had a wedding ceremony in our backyard in Playa del Rey 22 years ago. It wasn’t legal, but in 2013 we went to New York and we filed the paperwork and made it legal. We thought about having kids, but we decided we loved to do the uncle thing. We had three animals (dogs) throughout the years.”

What do you like to do around town?

“We love movies, taking walks in Bird Rock or going to Calumet Park. We frequent a lot of the restaurants here, and because I am the merchant liaison (of BRCC) I know all the owners, so it’s a little bit special for me to be able to shop here and interact with them, hear their challenges, be a customer as well. We love to ride our bikes. We often ride down to Mission Beach or Pacific Beach and visit our cousins there on our way back.”

Do you like sports?

“We love sports. We have season tickets to the Gulls, who reappeared soon after we moved here, and now the Gulls are in the playoffs, so that’s pretty exciting! I’m a baseball fan. I go to the Padres games with my dad and my brother. I’m a Dodgers fan at heart, but I’m a Padres fan, too. Also, Petco Park is something special, and the Dodgers’ stadium is special to me because I grew up going there. Still, it’s one of the crappiest stadiums in the country and needs to be rebuilt.”

How do you chose your attire?

“I think that I just have that gene. I do read GQ. I enjoy fashion, I’m a big shopper. It’s kind of like cooking, which I also love. I read recipes and I follow them, but I also don’t, and I look at it the same way. 99 times out of 100 I can put together a meal that I’ve never put together before, and I never will again, but it will turn out great. And I love mixing and matching what I have in the closet, trying new combinations. I’ve recently started wearing dress sneakers with my dress clothes. It’s just a sense that I have.”

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