Village Merchants Association approves Statement of Diversity

Diversity Consultant Rehema Ally-Lifa authored the La Jolla Village Merchants Association's Statement of Diversity.
Diversity Consultant Rehema Ally-Lifa authored the La Jolla Village Merchants Association’s Statement of Diversity.

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association adopted a “Statement of Diversity” and approved its inclusion in its annual strategic plan during its July meeting online.

The statement, authored by Diversity Consultant Rehema Ally-Lifa, includes main pillars to which a focus on diversity will be applied.

“Our mission is to bring more business to La Jolla Village,” Ally-Lifa said. “Diversity is the core value of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association, and everything we do is filtered through the commitment of diversifying The Village. And as we all know, through different experience, perspectives and backgrounds we create a stronger and more creative working environment that delivers better results.”

The main pillars the plan focuses on are organizational excellence, promotions and media, merchant education, resource and economic development, and design.

Under organizational excellence, “we want to recruit diverse board members and continue to recruit diverse interns,” Ally-Lifa said. “We want to include diverse faces and people from different backgrounds that can share different perspectives.”

Under promotions, the diversity plan includes attracting diverse artists and musicians to events such as Enjoya La Jolla, the board-sponsored outdoor community stroll, and bringing the website into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

A motion to adopt the Statement of Diversity and incorporate it in the board’s strategic plan passed unanimously July 8.

The board will seek to include merchants and other members of the community in its implementation. “This is an ongoing process, and the more people we have involved, the more successful it will be,” said acting chairwoman Julie Wright.

Other LJVMA news

Parking plans: At the request of merchants, some long-term parking spaces in The Village may be converted to 15-minute spaces to ease the curbside pickup process.

“As our Village has gotten busy, it is harder for someone to swing by and just pick up what they need, whether that’s food or a package,” said LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick. “A couple of merchants asked us to support a request for green [15-minute] curbs.”

Smallgoods owner Mike Eastwood circulated a petition supporting the change at his cheese shop and cafe at 7524 La Jolla Blvd.

“The two-hour parking in front of our street is turning out to be devastating for our business,” he said. “We put a petition on our table ... and got 12 pages of customers, neighbors and other businesses in support.”

Cody Decker of Decker’s Dog + Cat at 7928 Ivanhoe Ave. made a similar request.

A motion to support the parking space conversion in front of both stores passed and will be submitted to the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board for approval.

New board members: After her affirmation as a new board member last month, chiropractor Nevin Ramona-Hussion was sworn in.

Jo Cullen of the Life Time health club applied to fill a midyear vacancy.

“I’ve been in the business of running health clubs for 30 years and working in communities … so I really think having me on the board would be a plus,” Cullen said.

A motion to accept her as a board member passed unanimously. She will be sworn in at the next meeting.

Election schedule: Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the city of San Diego approved changes to the board’s upcoming election procedures. Letters will be sent via mail to every member in the business improvement district that outlines the process and the ability to self-nominate.

Rudick said those who would like to nominate themselves must be in good standing and up to date with their BID fees as of July 31 to qualify.

Sept. 9 is the deadline to self-nominate. After nominations are complete, candidate statements will be posted to the LJVMA website,

The plan is tentatively to have secret ballots cast in person Oct. 7. However, the board is considering a mechanism and validation process to vote via mail.

“In terms of opening the ballots, we do that in a public setting; this year we will do it on Zoom,” Rudick said. “The city has requested someone [from the city] participate to validate the process.”

The board will have the swearing-in and election of officers Nov. 11.

The Village Merchants Association next meets online at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12. Learn more at