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Editorial: Promote LJ should define its goals

Promote La Jolla members and directors need to take a close look at what is happening to the Village business district.

Faced with what President Rick Wildman said could be a major crisis, the group is in the midst of examinations by the city auditor and the small business agency for the city. While Wildman said he’s optimistic the discussions will have a favorable outcome and help the group find its way out of a large financial hole and some bookkeeping irregularities, perhaps a bigger challenge comes in defining what the group’s mission should be--if and when the financial puzzle is solved.

Small merchants and big hotel owners in the Village, and everyone in between including nonprofits and sole proprietors, all pay fees based on their size and type of business to support Promote La Jolla. In the past, the board was populated by restaurateurs and hoteliers with a sprinkling of small merchants. But now the majority includes more small-business people than larger ones.

The friction between the two is palpable. There are references to the “old” and the “new,” “us and them.”

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Yet their purpose should be one: getting people to patronize their businesses. That means having local residents come to the Village to shop and dine and drawing in tourists from the greater San Diego region and beyond to shop and dine and stay.

Even though they spent parts of two meetings earlier this year talking about goals, since the financial issue reared its ugly head, there’s been little talk of what those goals are.

Maybe Reza Ghasemi, one of those “old” board members who has challenged Wildman’s motives on more than one occasion, has a good idea: Come to the next meeting with ideas that will bring people to La Jolla and figure out ways to raise money.

But that’s a baby step toward a larger issue: Promote La Jolla’s members and board need to agree on a mission and develop a cohesive plan to achieve it. If they can’t, perhaps it’s time for the members to figure out another way to put La Jolla at the top of customers’ and tourists’ minds.

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