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Mary Ellen Morgan resigns from La Jolla Parks & Beaches board following calls for removal

Mary Ellen Morgan has resigned from her spot on the La Jolla Parks & Beaches board following months of calls for her removal.
La Jollan Mary Ellen Morgan has resigned from her spot on the Parks & Beaches board following months of calls for her removal.
(File)

La Jolla Parks & Beaches group member Mary Ellen Morgan has resigned from the board following months of calls for her removal after she made controversial comments about Black Lives Matter and chalk art on the La Jolla Bike Path drawn in support of the movement.

La Jolla Parks & Beaches President Claudia Baranowski said this week that Morgan resigned via email Feb. 4; a reason was not given.

“On behalf of LJP&B, I thanked Mary Ellen for her years of service on the council and accepted her resignation,” Baranowski said. Any additional information will be discussed at the board’s online meeting Monday, Feb. 22, she said.

Morgan did not answer a phone call seeking comment Feb. 16.

Public calls for the removal of Morgan and fellow LJP&B member Marie Hunrichs began after both commented at the Sept. 28 Parks & Beaches meeting that the chalk drawings, which they viewed as political expression, should not be in public places and made statements about Black Lives Matter that some community members called “hateful” and “hurtful.”

The two criticized a decision by the city of San Diego not to dedicate staff to power-wash the drawings away.

They later apologized for their comments — Morgan at a subsequent chalk drawing event and Hunrichs at an LJB&P meeting — but several members of the public maintained the two should be removed.

La Jolla Parks & Beaches board member Mary Ellen Morgan (right) apologized at an Oct. 31 "ChalkUp" event.
La Jolla Parks & Beaches board member Mary Ellen Morgan (right) apologized at an Oct. 31 “ChalkUp” event for controversial comments she had made about the Black Lives Matter movement.
(File)

Hunrichs has not resigned and was elected the board’s corresponding secretary in January.

La Jollan Stephanie Jernigan, one of those who called for Morgan’s removal from the board, called her resignation “a good decision.”

“We are beautiful, diverse community and we need to have respect for one another. I think it’s a step forward,” Jernigan said.

Baranowski said the board is reviewing its bylaws for possible revisions, including the section that deals with board vacancies. She said the board is required to have “between seven and 20 members,” and because it had 20 members before Morgan’s resignation, it will still comply with its bylaws if it doesn’t fill the seat right away.

According to the bylaws, to be eligible for membership on the board, “the potential member must … attend three consecutive meetings during the prior 12-month period, submit a letter of intent to [board leadership] and a statement of qualifications … and interest to the council. Those eligible for membership will be notified at least 72 hours before the next regular meeting that they will be considered for membership at that meeting.”

La Jolla Parks & Beaches’ Feb. 22 meeting begins at 4 p.m. Learn more at lajollaparksbeaches.org. ◆