La Jolla Shores Association trustee resigns amid heated debate over possible Kellogg Park event
Phil Wise quits after an argument with LJSA President Janie Emerson about the handling of a Challenged Athletes Foundation event.
A contentious debate about a possible event at Kellogg Park resulted in La Jolla Shores Association board member Phil Wise resigning during the online discussion Jan. 11.
The Challenged Athletes Foundation, a San Diego-based nonprofit, asked LJSA to support its Million Dollar Challenge, proposed to end in Kellogg Park as part of the group’s Community Challenge in October, as it did last year.
The Million Dollar Challenge, during which bicyclists will ride from San Francisco to San Diego over seven days, will include catering and picnic areas for the 100 to 200 cyclists and their supporters. The foundation typically raises more than $1 million during the event, which is in its 17th year.
The Million Dollar Challenge kicks off the Community Challenge, which is planned for Thursday, Oct. 19, through Sunday, Oct. 22, featuring various sports clinics along with picnics, presentations and music.
Kristin Entwistle of CAF said the Community Challenge previously has been held at La Jolla Cove and was moved in recent years to Mission Bay for better accessibility for disabled athletes.
She said CAF was eager to hold the Community Challenge at The Shores, but after multiple conversations with LJSA President Janie Emerson and board member Mary Coakley Munk, “it was determined it was not a great fit for [Kellogg Park]” due to city of San Diego noise regulations on amplified sound.
She said the Community Challenge would return to Mission Bay and she asked for LJSA’s support to end the Million Dollar Challenge at Kellogg Park.
“We have met several times concerning [the Community Challenge] and the amount of staging and the requirement to take over almost the entire park,” Emerson said. “Many hours of loud, amplified music just made it impossible to do the whole event there.”
“We all felt we needed to be creative to think outside the box” to figure out a way to have the event at Kellogg Park in the future, she added.
But Wise took issue with Emerson’s statement that “‘we had discussed this and felt it was too overwhelming to have the entire event there.’”
“I was never part of any discussion,” Wise said. “I think this is a wonderful event. This is what the park is for. This is what the ocean is for. … We’re supposed to encourage public events here.”
Emerson said “amplified music is something not allowed in the park,” citing the San Diego municipal code prohibiting sound that disturbs the peace.
“The problem with the amplified music is it’s very loud and it’s for multiple hours, and it then sets a precedent for any other event in the park,” she said.
“I have to disagree with you,” Wise said. He added that “I don’t think that two members of our association have the right to make a decision for all of us. We should all have been made aware of what’s going on.”
Emerson interrupted, saying, “We didn’t make the decision; Challenged Athletes made the decision.”
An argument ensued between Emerson and Wise, with Wise concluding: “I’m resigning from this association because I don’t like what’s happening. I’m done.”
Emerson instructed the meeting administrator, Brian Earley, to remove Wise from the Zoom call.
“We never intimated anything about support or non-support on the board,” Emerson said.
Wise later told the La Jolla Light that he resigned because “I felt I wasn’t being told the truth” about why the event couldn’t be held. “Excuses given were not genuine,” he said, and he was interrupted several times by Emerson while he was talking.
The discussion at the meeting continued with LJSA board member John Shannon stating: “I believe there’s something that can work. There are ways that you can have sound and just have a presence in the area where people are participating.”
Coakley Munk said “the La Jolla Shores Association fully supports the Challenged Athletes and we also have to represent the rest of the community members. We did ask them to bring an acoustic consultant with them to talk about what could be done to mitigate the sound.”
Katie Wood of CAF said Emerson and Coakley Munk “have been so helpful and very supportive in trying to help us find solutions. We do appreciate that everyone has really been working with us to see what might be possible.”
Board member Chuck Merriman said “there’s more to this dialogue” and added that as the Community Challenge is not scheduled until October, he wanted to work with CAF to find a solution to allow the event to be in The Shores.
In the meantime, he moved that LJSA approve use of Kellogg Park as the finish line for the Million Dollar Challenge. The motion passed with board member Keys Allan opposing without comment. Emerson abstained, as is customary for the president.
Shannon then moved to provisionally approve the entire Community Challenge event “if [CAF] can get the noise under control.” That motion failed for lack of a second.
“I’m very uncomfortable having a motion that implies that we’re going to contradict what’s already … in code in San Diego,” Emerson said.
Other LJSA news
Election: LJSA will have six board seats available for election in March. Board secretary Charlie Brown said three candidates have come forward so far, but at least three more are needed.
Potential candidates can email email@example.com.
Emerson said the seat vacated by Wise’s resignation is not one of the six mentioned. His seat will be filled through announcement and appointment in coming months, per LJSA bylaws, she said.
Next meeting: The La Jolla Shores Association next meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, online. Learn more at lajollashoresassociation.org. ◆
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