Merchants hear from candidates, La Jolla MAD manager

La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) board members pose in front of a banner promoting La Jolla shopping and dining. The Village Banner District (which LJVMA manages) installed 110 banners around town on Sept. 5 and they will be displayed through the end of October. Back row: Michael Dorvillier, Max Shenk, Melissa Snook, Lauren Johnston, Julie Wright and Jessica Wiley. Front row: Brett Murphy, Jodi Rudick, Tammy Tillack and Gabriela Guevara.

The majority of the Sept. 11 La Jolla Village Merchant Association meeting was dedicated to a forum of candidates for its six open board seats. For the first time in recent memory, the number of candidates exceeds the number of seats. (In fact, at 12, it’s double.) So LJVMA executive director Jodi Rudick gave each candidate the floor to stump.

The audience heard from Lauren Johnston, program manager for Patronus Wellness; Brett Murphy, current board president and owner of La Jolla Sports Club; Melissa Snook, current interim board member representing Merrill Lynch; Natalie Aguirre, store manager of J. McLaughlin; Sima Alefi, wealth-management advisor for LPL Financial; Amber Anderson, Realtor for Pacific Sotheby’s International; Morgan Barnes, social-media coordinator at Cove House restaurant; and attorney John Hanson.

For the following candidates not in attendance, Rudick read biographies they submitted: Don Parks, vice president of La Jolla Light and LJVMA; Decker’s Dog and Cat owner Cody Decker; Pantai Inn general manager Mike Murrell; and psychologist Diana Pickett.

Elections for LJVMA board members, open to all association members in good standing as of Aug. 31, will be held 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 2 at what Rudick called a “secret voting booth” inside LJVMA headquarters, 7509 Fay Ave., Suite 404. The ballots will be opened and counted at the LJVMA’s Oct. 9 meeting. Winners will be sworn in Nov. 13.

MAD money to the rescue

John Unbewust, general manager of the new Maintenance Assessment District (MAD) in La Jolla, described the program’s first three vendor contracts:

1) power-washing sidewalks annually at night;

2) twice-weekly trash pickup on weekends to supplement City service, plus daily litter control; and

3) landscape maintenance with focus on high-traffic areas such as Prospect Street and Girard Avenue.

LJVMA was asked to make first contact with business owners and tenants to notify them of the MAD’s activities and elicit their support, Unbewust said, at which point he would follow up and share the schedule and activities plus ask for their continued and/or additional support.

Unbewust explained the MAD’s contract — which gives it a budget of $530,000 from property-tax assessments — will not address privately owned planter boxes, which owners will need to maintain directly. Unbewust said he’d like to water Village hanging baskets more frequently, but he needs merchants to help by watering where and when they can, in addition to sweeping the sidewalks in front of their locations.

Also at LJVMA

New associates: The board unanimously approved car-sharing provider GetAround and aesthetician shop Revive Rejuvenation as new associate members. Whether to approve of Newport Landing Whale Watching was deferred to the next meeting, due to concerns about the business’s location and how its membership would benefit La Jolla.

Excellent financials: Murphy reported more than $74,000 in cash at the end of August, with assets and liabilities balanced at $87,000.

— La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 9 at La Jolla Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave.