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2010 brings new wishes — and some repeats

At the end of 2008, the Light asked La Jollans what their New Year’s resolutions or wishes for our community were. This year we revisited them again to find out what happened and what — if anything — they’d ask for differently in 2010.

  • Architect Mark Steele wanted to see people learn how to use the Bird Rock roundabouts.

“I think they have,” he said recently, acknowledging 2009 was a difficult year with the down economy.
His 2010 New Year’s wish: “That our economy gets back to the way it used to be,” he said. “It’s still agony for small businesses. I hope the administration finds ways to help small businesses.”

Steele characterized business in architecture as “very spotty.” “A lot of projects are on hold,” he said.

M.W. Steele Group, Inc. achieved one milestone in 2009. “We managed to buy our own office building this year, which is a landmark for us,” said Steele.

  • Orrin Gabsch, La Jolla Community Planning Association trustee, wanted 2009 to restore La Jollans’ trust that those working on traffic and transportation issues are doing so selflessly.

“From the point of view of the La Jolla Community Planning Association (LJCPA) with Tim Golba and then with Joe LaCava (chairs) that organization is really working well together and I would hope that there’s trust in the community for what they’re doing,” said Gabsch. But he added that what happened at Promote La Jolla with its financial challenges and city audit “was a big disappointment.”
For 2010, he said, he’d like to see “that PLJ would get back on its feet and become a positive force in the community.”

He also noted that the La Jolla Community Foundation philanthropic organization formed last year also has an “opportunity to do some things the city of San Diego can’t get done because of this (financial) mess.”

  • Realtor Joe Klatt had hoped that in 2009 the credit market would loosen up so that properties could be financed and income verifications made with normal applications by lenders.

“They certainly tightened up the application and income verification,” said Klatt. “But banks are still concerned about letting go of the money they’ve got. They’re risk averse right now.”
Klatt said banks need to prepare themselves for the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act to take effect Jan. 1. That’s when “good-faith estimates that the buyer/borrower receive can no longer be ballpark figures, they have to be accurate,” he said.

Asked what his wish or resolution was for 2010, Klatt, author of a new book “Deal Maker: Lessons From the Blind Master Negotiator,” replied: “I hope people buy a lot of books.”

  • Hugh Davies, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art In La Jolla, in 2009 resolved to hold the line on providing services while trimming expenses.

“It was one of those be-careful-what-you-wish-for situations because we were able to achieve that with a balanced budget but we had to lay off 17 staff members, about 23 percent of our staff,” Davies said. “It was the most difficult year I’ve been through in my 26 years here and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone or want to do it again.”
The good news, said Davies, was the museum ended the year in the black financially without reducing hours or exhibit programs.

For 2010, his resolution “is just to continue to offer the rich variety of programs, exhibitions, lectures and films, and that we won’t need to trim our budgets any further.”

  • Izzy Tihanyi, owner Surf Diva, president of the La Jolla Shores Merchant District, wished in 2009 that everything possible be done to promote local business.

“It was partially accomplished — we had a wonderful fall fest,” Tihanyi said. “It’s a good start. But we still have a lot of work to do.”
Tihanyi outlined what that work might entail. “Our goal is to get better signage for La Jolla Shores,” she said. “There’s so much more that could be done for our area to give it the recognition that it deserves.”

What’s Tihanyi’s call for action in the new year? “Support your local merchants,” she said. “Don’t go to the mall. Support your local retailer.”