La Jolla Village Merchants welcome new director, bid prez adieu


The La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) introduced its newly hired executive director, Jodi Rudick, to the public and to most board members, at its Oct. 10 meeting at the Riford Library. Rudick, who most recently managed publicity and promotions for the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, has also handled marketing for public agencies and worked in the small-business development department for the City of Anaheim.

“I am absolutely beyond excited about this opportunity,” Rudick said. “Who doesn’t love La Jolla?”

Rudick said she looked forward to “being able to help and service small businesses, and be able to connect into the resources that exist that maybe we’re not tapping into.”

“My goal is to make sure that locals as well tourists know about the treasure that is this community,” she said. “It’s a pleasure to be able to get back to my public-sector roots and combine that with my small-business development passion.”

President Alisha Hawrylyszyn Frank hired Rudick to replace Sheila Fortune, who resigned in June.

“We went through a very tedious hiring process,” Frank said while introducing Rudick. “We got about 100 resumes and we interviewed quite a few, really trying to narrow down the perfect fit for this position, and I do believe that we found her.”

he hire is to be Frank’s last major action as president of LJVMA. Elected president in May to finish out former president James Niebling’s term, Frank has mysteriously decided not to re-run for either.

“It might be a little bit of a surprise,” Frank said of the news. “I’ve dedicated two years (and) donated hundreds of hours to La Jolla. I’m very proud of the work I’ve done. I’ve restructured the foundation and I’m happy that there are now different ways for us to have new revenue streams in The Village.”

Also terming out and not expected to re-run for their board seats are LJVMA secretary Krista Baroudi and board members Laurnie Durisoe, Jamie Dickerson and Carla Parra.

“We are very thankful for their work and we’re super-excited about the new board that’s going to be here next month,” Frank said, wishing the new board “best of luck.”

Eight of 1,281 eligible merchants voted to elect members to the board, Frank announced. Robert Mackey of La Jolla Golf Carts received the most votes (7), followed by Erin Miller of Beaming Organic Superfood Café, Ben Benoit Roux of Trianon Clothing & Lingerie, Dr. Jessica Wiley of iAM Physical Therapy and Wellness, Gerhard Bendl of Custom Shirts of La Jolla and Gabriela Guevara of Blue Apparel (6 each), and attorney Kipp Williams and Amelia Hollow of Pure Spectrum (5 each).

The voting took place on Oct. 3 in the LJVMA office, as it had last year, with Mackey shutting merchants free of charge to and from the elections in his golf carts.

Additional board seats are available and will voted on by current board members next month.

Unwaivering waiver support

La Jollan Patrick Ahern requested, and received, support for a waiver of La Jolla’s summer beach construction moratorium to build the La Jolla Cove Pavilion restroom project, which he said he helped initiate. The waiver already received seals of approval from La Jolla Parks & Beaches and La Jolla Community Planning Association, and the LJVMA’s vote was unanimous.

Following the vote, Ahern narrated a slideshow of major new construction projects around La Jolla.

La Jolla-wood walk of fame?

Robert Alexander, president of walk-of-stars programs in both Las Vegas and Palm Springs, proposed adding a strip of sidewalk stars in La Jolla.

“I was amazed at the people I have researched who were born, lived or raised here,” Alexander said, mentioning only Gregory Peck by name. “We could probably do 10-15 stars a year.”

Alexander explained that his 501(c)3 would charge $15,000 per star “and it would not cost the City, the taxpayers or the public a dime.” The La Jolla Walk of Fame would, he said, clean all the stars and perform all necessary maintenance.

Frank said she liked the idea and recommended a board vote on whether to recommend the project next month. She said it would dovetail nicely with La Jolla’s long-stalled yet still eagerly hoped-for Belvedere Promenade project at Girard Avenue and Prospect Street.

(On a related but unmentioned note, the Palm Springs City Council voted unanimously in June to reassign control of its walk of stars program, created by one of Alexander’s companies in 1992, to its chamber of commerce. According to Palm Springs’ Desert Sun newspaper, its city council members “said they supported the program itself, but their main concern was that it was a city program, involving city funds, being operated by a third party” and that they wanted “to ensure the money generated from the stars was put to the best public use.”)

Rancho Santa Fe shuttle

Rancho Santa Fe Realtor Janet Lawless Christ proposed a monthly shuttle bus to bring residents of her similarly upscale villa to La Jolla to shop, dine and luxuriate once a month; “to get them to go to La Jolla,” she said, “instead of just UTC.”

“If you think about it, we share a psychographic because we’re of a village mentality,” Christ said, and that she needs LJVMA’s help to sign merchants up to offer discounts to shuttle riders, but that she would provide the full-time publicist needed to create buzz and update the project’s website. Frank agreed to place the item on next month’s LJVMA agenda for a vote.

Also at LJVMA

• Treasurer Brett Murphy announced that the form of the 2018 LJVMA Holiday Party has yet to be decided upon, but will happen.

• Murphy also announced that Pillage the Village, LJVMA’s annual trick-or-treating event scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 31 from 3-6 p.m., still needs approval of funding.

• Max Shenk of San Diego Fly Rides updated the board on the continuing progress made on branded La Jolla bike racks.

• Barbara Bry rep Mauricio Medina presented both Frank and Baroudi with certificates of commendation from the City Council member for their public service.

— La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets at 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14 in the La Jolla Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave.