La Jolla Village Merchants finalize strategic plans


La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) adopted a strategic plan for fiscal year 2018-19 during its monthly meeting Feb. 14 at the Riford Library. It broke the plan down into five divisions:

1. Community: LJVMA president James Niebling said he added this new division — headed by LJVMA board vice president Jerit George — to handle LJVMA’s outreach, which includes the Winter Gala, block captain program, quarterly merchant mixers, welcome packages and ribbon-cutting ceremonies.

2. Marketing: Board member and La Jolla Light vice president of advertising Don Parks will oversee events; website enhancement, including advertising and blog opportunities; social media and merchandise. For merchandise, Niebling mentioned developing the brand of La Jolla Village with La Jolla by the Sea polo shirts and caps.

3. Organization: Niebling said this refers to the executive committee meeting monthly about topics centered around LJVMA’s priorities.

4. Design: “This year is a little bit of a challenge because we did feel like the MAD was going to be in place,” Niebling said, referring to the La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District designed to spruce up Village streets and sidewalks but set aside by a Superior Court judge.

Niebling said that he and LJVMA executive director Sheila Fortune will work with the City and local vendors “to try and keep maintenance going in The Village in regard to landscaping, garbage pickup, street and sidewalk cleaning and so forth.”

5. Economic Development: Headed by La Jolla Sports Club co-owner Brett Murphy, this division will focus on partnering with other La Jolla community groups to understand their priorities so they can combine forces when communicating with the City. The motion to adopt the strategic plan passed unanimously.

Show me the money

The board unanimously approved submitting a 2018-19 budget to the City based on the strategic plan. The budget also includes some funding for street and sidewalk maintenance and landscaping to replace what was expected from the MAD but, Niebling said, “it’s pretty basic and it’s very lean.”

A more immediate problem is that there is “no money,” Fortune said, for the LJVMA to continue maintaining Village streets until that budget kicks in, since MAD was supposed to take over on Jan. 1.

“As you all have probably have already seen, our hanging flower pots are dying and our trees haven’t been watered since December, when we let go of our maintenance services and that was the end of our funding for the year,” Fortune said, estimating a budget gap of about $3,500-$4,000 per month.

Fortune suggested a reboot of LJVMA’s Sparkle & Shine program, a private-donations campaign through which businesses sponsor lamp post banners. “We were very, very successful in doing the banners with Sparkle & Shine last time,” Fortune said, “because (people) love to see their names and logos of their businesses hanging up.”

In the meantime, Fortune said, LJVMA is “in good shape” financially for January, reporting total assets of $71,842.47 and liabilities of $71,842.47. For July through January, Fortune reported net income of $8,874.28.

The LJVMA funds come from Business Improvement District funds and the City’s Small Business Enhancement program.

In other Merchants news:

Street corner sprucing: A pavement replacement project was presented by architect Paul Benton for the corner of Girard Avenue and Silverado Street. Slated to begin after Labor Day, the project — sponsored by Union Bank — will consist of pavers on 50 percent of the sidewalk, a double row of tulip trees on Girard, and an arch of four queen palms framing the entrance to that street. The board unanimously voted to provide a letter of support.

Concours update: Board member Michael Dorvillier presented the needed street closures and no-parking zones (mostly by Scripps Park) for the Concours d’Elegance Luxury & Classic Car Show, April 6-8, and asked for a letter of support, which the board voted unanimously to issue.

Following Dorvillier’s presentation, Fortune presented him with his award for being an outstanding LJVMA board of director in 2017. (He missed the gala where they were handed out due to an injury.)

Spring fling: The next quarterly merchant mixer was announced for 5-7 p.m., Tuesday, March 20 at the Pantai Inn, which is owned by board member Laurnie Jackman Durisoe.

Annual Report OK’d: The board passed a motion to approve its annual report for 2017, which is available to the public on its website (

— La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 14 at La Jolla Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave. (858) 454-5718.