La Jolla Parks & Beaches welcomes new board member and discusses updating bylaws

The La Jolla Parks & Beaches board and others at its Feb. 22 meeting discuss plans for updating the board's bylaws.
The La Jolla Parks & Beaches board and others at its Feb. 22 meeting discuss plans for updating the board’s bylaws.

The La Jolla Parks & Beaches group, deep in the midst of changes, introduced a new board member during its Feb. 22 meeting to replace Mary Ellen Morgan, who resigned this month, and discussed plans to update its bylaws.

Morgan resigned via email without stating a reason following persistent calls for her removal from several members of the public over critical comments she made in September about the city of San Diego’s decision not to remove chalk art drawn on the La Jolla Bike Path in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

La Jolla Shores Association member and former La Jolla Community Planning Association trustee Dolores “Dede” Donovan had submitted a letter of intent to run for the board, according to Claudia Baranowski, who was presiding over her first full meeting since being elected LJP&B president in January.

To qualify, potential members must attend three meetings in the previous 12 months, and those who do are put on a list of eligible members. Donovan was next on the list, Baranowski said.

Donovan said she grew up in La Jolla and remembers “what it used to be like. I can’t turn time backward, but I would like to do the best I can to see that it does not become a theme park or a Miami-type area in terms of the infrastructure going in. I also think La Jolla is underparked. …

“The city seems to think because we have these signature beaches, that is all we need. Those that live here need smaller areas to go and connect with the quiet peace of nature.”

She was then formally seated as a board member.

Baranowski said that “if any other attendees are interested in becoming a member, they can find information on our website,”

Speaking about Morgan, LJP&B member Phyllis Minick came to her defense, crediting her “years-long contributions to meetings and work of La Jolla Parks & Beaches. She is a head of family … a successful and respected entrepreneur and a longtime mentor to impoverished Black and Hispanic children.”

Board bylaws

Baranowski said her “immediate focus” is to update the bylaws so they reflect LJP&B’s status as a nonprofit organization but provide room for the group to grow.

“This is an opportunity to take a look at our bylaws and strengthen them,” she said. “It’s a big project and is going to require candid discussions and important decisions by the members.”

LJP&B is looking to update its bylaws after the city issued a letter indicating the board is not an official advisory group to the city. Parts of the bylaws are written as if the board were an advisory group, and other parts are written for its nonprofit status. However, the board expressed interest in becoming a recognized advisory group, so the update is to clean up inconsistent language, make changes suggested by the city and “seek confirmation of advisory group status,” among other things, according to bylaws working group member Barbara Dunbar.

She said the working group would distribute draft bylaws to board members and that an open online meeting would be held at 4 p.m. Monday, March 1, to collect public comments. From there, a final draft will be distributed to board members and voted on at the board’s monthly meeting March 22. Details will be posted on the LJP&B website.

When asked about instituting term limits for board members, a sticking point the last time the panel tried to update its bylaws in 2016, Dunbar said: “This is the first round of amendments, ones that have to be done immediately. Then after going through this process, we will revisit and go further. We want to get the important ones initially, and there are a lot.”

Other LJP&B news

Parking signs proposal: Without casting a vote, the board heard a La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board proposal to install informational signs for public parking garages in The Village.

CAPB is proposing one directional sign — likely on Prospect Street near Coast Boulevard — indicating how many parking spaces are in four area garages, where they are located and the costs at each one, plus signs fronting those garages showing how many spaces are available.

The plan has been endorsed by the La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board, Village Merchants Association and Planned District Ordinance Committee.

A parking directional sign pilot project spearheaded by the La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board won unanimous approval of the local Traffic & Transportation Board during its Feb. 17 meeting.

Jodi Rudick, a CAPB member and executive director of the Village Merchants Association, said the directional sign “needs to be informational and functional. We are sensitive to the fact that La Jollans don’t want some Las Vegas-style sign. … We are looking for the sign that will best fit La Jolla’s personality but still give that great information. We’ll make sure the sign is not obstructive and will not block any of the views.”

She said the participating garages would be asked to offer “promotional pricing” as part of the pilot program.

Bike path: Debbie Adams, LJP&B volunteer and shepherd of the local bike path, said she would like signage repainted on the sidewalk to alert users of the bike path to slow down. In addition to pedestrians, dog walkers and standard bicyclists, riders of electric bikes use the path, some at exorbitant speeds.

“E-bikes are not considered motorized vehicles, they are considered pedal-assisted bicycles, so they are allowed on the bike path,” Adams said. “But it’s not just these e-bikes, it’s ... bicyclists speeding over a reasonable limit.”

Adams said she would present to the Traffic & Transportation Board to seek approval to repaint the word “slow” on the path.

Further, she said, “the bike path itself is crumbling on both edges, so we will have to improve the pavement and widen the road since we have so much usage.” ◆