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La Jolla Village Merchants Association elects 12 board members

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association meets at the La Jolla/Riford Library.
(Ashley Mackin-Solomon)

A dozen people were elected or reelected to the La Jolla Village Merchants Association board this week from among 14 candidates.

Fifty eligible ballots were cast in the election for the 12 available seats. Ten ballots were deemed ineligible.

Election winners Dusty Bowder, Jo Cullen, Brandon Lindley, Katie Longo, Maddie Mackey, Jen Pham, Bill Podway, Natalia Petrova, Summer Shoemaker, Hallie Swenson, Chad Taggart and Maddie Wallace will be sworn in next month.

Cullen, Lindley, Long, Pham, Podway, Shoemaker, Swenson, Taggart and Wallace were incumbents. Bowder, Mackey and Petrova will be new members.

Bowder, manager of the Vuori clothing store, said he wanted to join LJVMA to bring “a fresh energy” to the board.

“Knowing about local events and spreading the word among all retailers around Vuori would breed excellent collaboration,” he said in his candidate statement.

Mackey is the founder of Media on the Rise and works to produce the La Jolla Social maps in conjunction with La Jolla Golf Carts, which her father, Robert Mackey, owns.

“Both businesses bring the community together for local enjoyment. We are making an impact by living, eating and breathing La Jolla life daily,” she wrote in her candidate statement.

Petrova, who represents the Cormorant Hotel and Birdseye restaurant, said she has 11 years’ experience in the hospitality industry and believes that “being in the hospitality field is also about supporting local businesses, building connections and contributing to the growth of the community.”

LJVMA Executive Director Jodi Rudick called the election a “nail-biter” and thanked all those who ran. She encouraged those who were not elected to stay connected to the board in case of midyear vacancies. “There is still plenty of opportunity for those to get involved,” she said.

The election was overseen by Latrell Crenshaw of the San Diego Economic Development Department, who counted the ballots at the Oct. 12 LJVMA meeting at the La Jolla/Riford Library.

Other LJVMA news

Wayfinding efforts: Despite a recent snag, LJVMA is continuing its work to start a wayfinding program by painting art that provides directions on San Diego Gas & Electric utility boxes. The original plan was to wrap the boxes with vinyl material that would be both artistic and point people to beaches and other local attractions and landmarks.

However, Rudick said last month that SDG&E would not allow wrapping of the utility boxes.

“We cannot use decals to wrap the boxes, so we are back to using [SDG&E] protocols … and using paint,” she told the board Oct. 12. She said she is working with local artists and that “we are going to find another way and are moving forward with that.”

“Creepy Candy Crawl”: The “Creepy Candy Crawl” trick-or-treating event, formerly known as “Pillage the Village,” will take place from 3 to 6 p.m. on Halloween, Monday, Oct. 31.

“This is a universally popular event; it’s popular with the kids, their families, the merchants, so it should be a lot of fun,” Rudick said. Balloons and window decorations will indicate participating businesses that have treats to give out.

Whether the new name will stick remains to be seen. LJVMA President Amber Anderson said some of those involved were “not happy” with the new name and that it might change. But the board adopted the “Creepy Candy Crawl” name “until a new name is brought forward to consider.”

Block captain program: The LJVMA block captain program is being revived, with more information coming soon.

“We hope every board member will become a block captain, and the good news is we are only talking about 10 to 15 businesses around you that you can build a relationship with,” Rudick said. “We want to augment the work that I do, and my volunteers do, and … build relationships. That is the ultimate goal, to really [help the businesses] get to know us and what we do.”

Next meeting: The La Jolla Village Merchants Association next meets at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9, at the La Jolla/Riford Library, 7555 Draper Ave. Learn more at lajollabythesea.com. ◆