A serendipitous return to La Jolla

By Phyllis Pfeiffer

After 14 years at the Light, I left in 1987 to pursue my newspaper career and have been privileged to work at some of California’s major publications including the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. Much has changed in La Jolla since then, yet many things are still the same.

Gone are some of the people and places that contributed to La Jolla’s magic: Ted Geisel, Jonas Salk, Roger Revelle, Peggy and Felix from John’s Waffle Shop and the Cove Movie Theater, then managed by now-retired Spence Wilson, who kept an eye on everyone’s kids.

Not surprisingly, the debate over parking, the Soledad cross and whether La Jolla should secede from San Diego is the same. But so is the view from the courtyard of the Salk Institute, which is still one of the best in the world and the “can” is still banned from Wind an Sea Beach. Jonathan’s still offers up gourmet goodies and Manny can still be found at the Whaling Bar. A Night in Monte Carlo and the Jewel Ball still highlight the summer social calendar. The walk from the Beach Club to Scripps Pier is one of the planet’s most scenic exercise routes, and real estate in the 92037 zip code is still among the priciest on earth.

A lot about La Jolla has gotten even better. Its premier cultural institutions, the La Jolla Playhouse and the San Diego Museum of Modern Art, have become more prominent and celebrated. Foodies can delight in a wider array of restaurants and grocers, with great take-out from Bristol Farms, produce from Whole Foods and a farmers market. George’s at the Cove recently earned a ‘100 Best” nod from Food & Wine magazine, and Jack’s La Jolla brought the former executive chef of Jeans-Georges in New York to the local dining scene.

It is no secret that the La Jolla Light has undergone many changes over the years. MainStreet Media Group purchased the paper in 2003, and Publisher Brendan Ruff and the Light staff have done a superb job in helping to reestablish the financial soundness of the Light and its involvement in the community.

With the recent expansion of MainStreet’s holdings in San Diego County, a new opportunity emerged for Brendan, which created a vacancy in the publisher’s office in La Jolla. It turned out that this was pure serendipity, as my husband and I were in the early stages of planning our return to La Jolla. After discussions with Tony Allegretti of MainStreet, we believe that the Light can return to its former glory.

Though we have maintained many ties to La Jolla during our years in the north, and our son Andrew moved back in 2001, my husband Stephen and I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for the last 14 years. So I need to catch up and would appreciate hearing about the issues important to you and the coverage you’d like to see in the new Light. You can reach me at or through the mail at 565 Pearl Street, Suite 300.

In its heyday during the ‘70s and ‘80s, the Light won numerous awards from newspaper associations and was named one of the best weekly newspapers in the US by AdWeek magazine. In my new/old role as publisher, I pledge to work toward delivering a Light to readers and advertisers, in both print and online, that reflects the attributes and uniqueness that makes La Jolla exceptional. I am excited by this challenge and look forward to reconnecting with one of the most magical places on the planet.