La Jolla merchants meet Enhance La Jolla district manager

Enhance La Jolla district manager John Unbewust introduces himself to the La Jolla Village Merchants Association at its July 10 meeting.

John Unbewust, the retired engineer who manages the Enhance La Jolla Maintenance Assessment District (MAD), introduced himself to the La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) at its July 10 meeting at the Riford Library. He described what La Jolla’s businesses can expect once the program gets up and running Oct. 1. According to Unbewust, Enhance La Jolla will be responsible for:

1) power-washing sidewalks and trash receptacles;

2) landscaping work, trimming and cleanup of “trashy-looking areas”; and

3) trash pick-up supplemental to what the City has already scheduled, primarily on weekends.

Unbewust said there was a fourth responsibility, too: “Things like graffiti removal or a cleanup of a specific problem that has occurred.”

“I’ve lived in The Village for 15 years,” Unbewust said. “And I’ve seen things that I felt the City has fallen short on that need to be done. And you know what? It’s time to take the bull by the horns. We have the mechanism now to be able to initiate that process, and rather than grouse about it, I’m going to be the face of a district that will be doing something about it. And with your help, I think we can do that much more, and I’m looking forward to that challenge.”

The audience responded with a standing ovation led by LJVMA executive director Jodi Rudick.

“Now we can focus on what we’re good at — which is bringing business to The Village, promoting and marketing,” said LJVMA president Brett Murphy, noting that the LJVMA would no longer be responsible for design and beautification in the business improvement district. “This is going to be wonderful for our finances and for The Village itself.”

For more information on Enhance La Jolla, visit

Shuttle reshuffle

LJVMA voted to request that fiscal management of the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking board (LJCAP) be returned to LJVMA. The LJCAP budget will be provided by its own funds, Rudick explained, with no direct financial impact to LJVMA.

“The question is do we have the ability to spend some of the money in ways that improve The Village,” she said. “Yes we do.”

LJVMA board member Robert Mackey, who represents LJVMA on the LJCAP board, provided an update on recent developments and options, none of which were solidified. And Rudick said that LJVMA is writing a request for proposal (RFP) for a short-term shuttle to and around The Village.

Olive branch to Bird Rock

Rudick noted — as reported previously by the Light — that Riffs Yoga Studio owner Steve Hart has formed the Bird Rock Merchants Association, and “the more the merrier.”

“We can actually take neighborhoods under our wing, either independently with their own 501(c)(3) or (6), get a micro business district grant,” Rudick said. “It’s up to about $10,000, so it’s not a huge amount of money, but you can see how they can use it if they want to put on an event or help to do banners, as they just added in their district. So we all want to be one big happy family, and I think we are doing some good things to connect the two communities and are working hard to do the same with La Jolla Shores.”

Also at LJVMA

Swear-in: LJVMA secretary Julie Wright swore in Patronus Wellness owner Lauren Johnston to fill the board seat vacated last month by Laurnie Durisoe. Also, the Shoal La Jolla Beach Hotel and Riffs Yoga Studios were approved as new associate members.

• Good financials: The financials were reviewed and approved by a board vote. Total income was $235,763 with $17,991 in net income for the year. Murphy reported that the financials “look great.”

• A check and an exit: La Jolla Concours d’Elegance chair Michael Dorvillier presented a $5,000 check to LJVMA. “Officially, that’s a sponsorship contribution, and we really appreciate the partnership and look forward to having it work both ways for years to come,” Rudick said. Dorvillier then announced that he is terming out of his LJVMA board seat and that next month will probably be his final meeting.

• LaJollalty Card: Merchants were encouraged to attend informational meetings about a new locals incentive program called the LaJollalty Card, 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 16 and 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 24. Rudick said one La Jolla hotel has already committed to giving 20 percent off their lowest rate.

• New hospitality group: A new hospitality group, part of the San Diego Tourism Authority, will hold its first meeting 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 30 at the Empress Hotel, 7766 Fay Ave.

• Enjoya with Art & Wine: October’s Enjoya La Jolla will not be a stand-alone event but will dovetail with the La Jolla Art & Wine Festival, Oct. 12 and 13. LJVMA will be given a booth at the event and is outreaching to merchants to develop sidewalk sales along Girard Avenue during the festival.

• Election approved: The election process was approved, as per LJVMA bylaws.

— La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets 3 p.m. Wednesday, August 8 at the Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave.