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Nine vie for six seats on La Jolla Community Planning Association board

La Jolla Community Planning Association trustees are pictured during their online meeting in December.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Potential trustees running in this year’s election for the La Jolla Community Planning Association board got to pitch their candidacy during a forum at the board’s Feb. 3 meeting. Nine people are seeking six available seats.

The election will be handled by mail, with ballots sent out digitally to LJCPA members on or before Tuesday, Feb. 15. Eligible voters will be asked to print out the ballots, fill in their selections and mail them back.

Results will be announced at the Community Planning Association’s meeting Thursday, March 3.

LJCPA President Diane Kane thanked all the candidates, saying, “We need you; the community needs you.”

Trustees serve three-year terms for no more than six consecutive years. Every year, one-third of the 18 seats are up for election.

Here are the nine people in the running now. Their candidate statements are posted at lajollacpa.org.

Marouane Abdaoui

Marouane Abdaoui
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Abdaoui, a junior architect at Island Architects in La Jolla, told LJCPA that “La Jolla has defined my architectural career for the last seven years as I have had the chance for architectural firms in town as well as participating in coastal projects here in La Jolla. So [looking at how] local building ordinances, municipal codes affect the community is a passion of mine, as is serving the community, preserving the history and, most importantly, improving the architecture and urbanism while keeping the history.”

According to his candidate statement, “my passion for architecture developed while living in Santa Barbara, where I moved for my college education after graduating high school in Bordeaux, France. … Upon moving to San Diego in 2015, I began my career at Marengo Morton Architects before joining Island Architects in 2018.”

Suzanne Baracchini

Suzanne Baracchini
(Courtesy of Suzanne Baracchini)

Baracchini, a four-year resident of La Jolla, decided to announce her candidacy during last week’s meeting (the deadline to announce was the close of the meeting).

“I want to help put the sparkle back on the jewel of La Jolla,” she said. “I’ve educated myself on many of the issues this community faces.” She added that she has a background in the biotechnology industry and in communications and fundraising for a nonprofit.

Her candidate statement says she is originally from England and has lived in San Diego for 35 years. She and her husband are retired and purchased a home in La Jolla’s Windansea community in 2018.

Baracchini is a member of a group called the Preserve Windansea Beach Association, which lobbied last year against a plan to construct a belvedere (also called a gazebo) on Neptune Place near Rosemont Street. At the time, she argued that the proposal violates the La Jolla Community Plan and the San Diego municipal code.

Helen Boyden

Helen Boyden
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Boyden, a longtime member of LJCPA and the La Jolla Shores Permit Review Committee, said she is running for reelection because she wants to “continue to support the work of the LJCPA. It will be a challenging time since the City Council seems poised to make many changes to the role and functioning of community planning groups” through proposed reforms.

“The LJCPA and its subcommittees and ad-hoc committees have provided input to the city on view corridors, parking problems, beach access, seals and sea lions and traffic problems. It provides a public forum for the city to inform the community about changes coming for street and sewer repair, rules for scooters, bike lane proposals, its tree initiatives and many others. I would like to continue to be an active participant in its efforts.”

Tom Brady

Tom Brady
(Elisabeth Frausto)

Brady did not attend the meeting but asked that election committee chairwoman Janie Emerson read his statement. He once served as an LJCPA trustee.

Brady’s statement reads that he has been a resident of La Jolla for 55 years and “has been active in serving the community of La Jolla in various civic and charitable causes, including the La Jolla Family YMCA, La Jolla Community Planning Association, La Jolla Traffic & Transportation Board, La Jolla Coastal Access Board, has served as treasurer of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association, San Diego Mayor’s Parking Advisory Board, San Diego Salvation Army’s Adult Rehabilitation Center Advisory Council, Catholic Charities, Diocese of San Diego board, and is a current member of the board of La Jolla Parks & Beaches Inc.”

Mike Costello

Mike Costello
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Costello, who is running for reelection, was first elected to the LJCPA board in 2008 and has served on several of its committees. He said his community planning experience is crucial, especially now.

“The most challenging thing we have ever faced is [the city’s community planning group reforms]. I think my experience is going to be very helpful in countering some of these efforts,” he said. “We are only an advisory at this point, but it is one of democracy’s most important things in that we give the La Jolla community a larger voice to go to the City Council. Whether they like what we have to say or not, it’s a lot more effective than one person going downtown to the City Council.”

John Fremdling

John Fremdling
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Former trustee Fremdling said the city is “moving the goalposts” with the proposed community planning group reforms.

“To have a united front when dealing with the city … can be a challenge,” he said. “My background is in residential and commercial design, space planning and a couple of years on the [La Jolla] Development Permit Review Committee. [The latter is] the ground roots place to see how these projects start. I’ve learned a lot about what’s allowed and not allowed.”

Fremdling, who has lived in La Jolla’s Bird Rock community for eight years, said his “other relevant experiences” include serving on the La Jolla Historical Society’s preservation committee and with the Retired Senior Volunteer Patrol of the San Diego Police Department’s Northern Division.

Lisa Kriedeman

Lisa Kriedeman
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Kriedeman, a managing partner at Island Architects, has worked in La Jolla for 24 years.

“I’ve been on the presenter side but have yet to volunteer my time in this capacity, and would like to give of my time and expertise as an architect to make La Jolla a beautiful community for all to live in and be preserved and improved upon,” she said.

John Leek

John Leek
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Leek, a member of La Jolla Parks & Beaches, identified himself as a longtime diver and “this town’s leading authority on sea lions.” Speaking about the city’s planned seasonal closure of Point La Jolla to keep people away from sea lions, he said, “I know how to tame this problem; we don’t have to close beaches or turn this town inside out.”

His candidate statement says that “for six years I have traded data with the NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] Office of Protected Resources identifying sea lions by their rehab release tags. I send photos of the tags and they send me their capture and release data. I have counted our La Jolla sea lions since 2018 ... I have the only La Jolla sea lion population statistics recorded since ... 2017.”

Joe Terry

Joe Terry
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

Terry, an economist and a Bird Rock resident, said he has been living in La Jolla since 1999. He has previously served on the Bird Rock Community Council, La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee and LJCPA.

He said he is running because “I would like to use my professional experience as an economist and my community organization experience to help the LJCPA in successfully meeting the challenges of that balancing act. I recognize that a thriving business community and vitality of our neighborhoods will contribute to the quality of life. Dealing with new city regulations and maintaining the character of our neighborhoods will be challenging, and I hope to help the LJCPA meet that challenge.” ◆