La Jolla Shores group approves keeping meetings online as it changes its bylaws

The La Jolla Shores Association meets March 8 online.
(Screenshot by Elisabeth Frausto)

The La Jolla Shores Association board approved a change to its bylaws that will allow its meetings to stay online after California’s COVID-19 state of emergency expired Feb. 28.

The group also approved sending a letter to the office of state Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-Burbank) endorsing his Senate Bill 411, which would allow planning groups in cities of more than 3 million people to continue having meetings online. The letter will ask that the bill be amended to reduce the population threshold low enough to include San Diego, which has about 1.38 million people.

The La Jolla Community Planning Association, which returned to in-person meetings this month, took a similar action March 2.

Currently, Los Angeles, with a population of around 3.8 million, would be the only California city that qualifies under the bill.

La Jolla Shores Association members have met online since Gov. Gavin Newsom declared the pandemic state of emergency in March 2020. Assembly Bill 361 allowed groups governed by the Brown Act, the state’s open-meetings law, to have online-only meetings during the declaration.

As other groups covered by the Brown Act prepared to return to in-person meetings this month, LJSA gave its bylaw change preliminary approval Feb. 8 and stayed online for its March 8 gathering.

The change now in effect deleted phrases indicating the association would adhere to Brown Act regulations and added that “if required by the city for recreation council business … the association may designate meetings, as needed, where notices shall be made and agendas distributed in accordance with the Ralph M. Brown Act or other applicable current legislation.”

LJSA board member Rick Kent sent an email to the rest of the board and the La Jolla Light expressing concern about the possible effects of staying virtual.

“The La Jolla Shores Association board has to decide whether we want to responsibly adhere to the requirements of the Brown Act ... or choose to relinquish our status as a formal advisory group to the city of San Diego. I would choose the former rather than the latter,” Kent wrote.

But association President Janie Emerson argued in February that “we are not a legislative body” and that as a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation registered in California, “organizations like ours are not required to be under the Brown Act unless there’s specific activity that you do that is required to do that.”

She said the bylaw change is “totally legal.”

A representative of the San Diego city attorney’s office did not comment to the Light about the legality or other implications of the association’s decision.

LJSA member Brian Earley said the Brown Act, which was enacted in 1953, is “a really ancient document. … We try to adjust everything that’s necessary to bring a community together [and we] need to have some flexibility in advocating for some new legislation.”

Board member Chuck Merriman said “one of our fundamentals is the availability of people being able to be a part of the civic process. I think we’ve all learned through COVID and things have changed.”

Merriman said virtual meetings make “people more available, [such as] the police or public ... officials,” who he said often have more than one civic meeting scheduled per evening.

Other LJSA news

La Jolla Parkway: Steve Hadley, representing the office of San Diego City Councilman Joe LaCava, whose District 1 includes La Jolla, said repaving of La Jolla Parkway is still expected to begin this month.

He said crews are waiting for two weeks of temperatures above 50 degrees at night to allow new asphalt to adhere.

“We are stressing ... that it really has to be done before Memorial Day,” Hadley said.

He said construction work currently being done at the chute from La Jolla Scenic Drive South to La Jolla Parkway is part of San Diego Gas & Electric’s undergrounding of power lines.

Beach fires: San Diego police Lt. Bryan Brecht said three beach teams are conducting enforcement of an amendment to the San Diego municipal code that explicitly bans wood bonfires outside designated rings on city beaches. The regulation went into effect Feb. 12.

A San Diego fire ring at La Jolla Shores
Wood bonfires on San Diego city beaches are explicitly banned unless inside designated rings.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

LJSA board member Meinrat “Andi” Andreae said he’s still seeing fires at night and cited remnants of charred charcoal and wood as evidence that fires are still going on.

The regulation says the only beach fires allowed outside of designated rings are those fueled by propane. Charcoal barbecuing is still allowed on grassy areas next to city beaches.

“I would encourage a bit more enforcement,” Andreae said. He added that signage is minimal and unlighted, making it not visible after dark, when many fires are ignited.

Brecht said the beach teams are on duty from 10 a.m. to 4 a.m. daily, covering La Jolla, Pacific Beach, Mission Bay and Mission Beach.

San Diego lifeguard Lt. Lonnie Stephens said the Scripps tower at the north end of La Jolla Shores is being staffed daily as schools’ spring breaks begin.

Stephens said additional seasonal lifeguard staffing at all La Jolla beaches will ramp up for the San Diego Unified School District’s spring break March 25 through April 2, when beach crowds are expected to increase.

Sunrise Rotary Luau: The LJSA board voted unanimously to support the La Jolla Sunrise Rotary Club’s third Luau Party, to be held at 5 p.m. Sunday, April 16, at the La Jolla Shores Hotel.

Sunrise Rotary representative Sherry Savage said the event will include Polynesian food and dancing, plus prizes and more.

The event is a fundraiser to support Friends of Coast Walk Trail, a nonprofit that provides maintenance and improvements to La Jolla’s Coast Walk Trail.

Savage said the luau also will support the club’s other philanthropic efforts.

LJSA will sponsor a table for 10 people for $900 at the event, and individual association members can buy tickets for $90 each, a discount from the general price of $100 per person.

For more luau information, email

Board election: All six candidates who ran for six available LJSA board seats were elected this month, secretary Charlie Brown said.

Kathleen Neil received 24 votes, Keys Allan received 23, Ed Mackey and Mike McCormack each got 22, Richard Dahlberg tallied 21 and Dr. Andrew Perry received 16.

LaCava will swear in the new board members at the association’s April 12 meeting.

Nominations now are being collected for board president, first and second vice presidents, secretary and treasurer for one-year terms. The officers will be selected at the April meeting.

Next meeting: The La Jolla Shores Association next meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 12, online. For more information, visit ◆