Good people light up the town

Good people can make good things happen.

La Jolla native Adam Harris is one of those good people. When he heard that La Jolla’s fireworks appeared to be a victim of the recession, he contacted the Light, which connected him with George Hauer - another good person who has run the show for the past 24 years with the support of First Republic Bank.

Hauer gave him his blessing and said he would still help with the legwork to get the event going again, but only if came up with the cold, hard cash - $27,000 of it - by June 10.

Harris started out last Friday on his mission to save the fireworks, creating a Web site at

, setting up a PayPal account to handle donations, and contacting friends and business associates.

The site says, “Clearly, it is time for La Jollans to STEP UP and help George preserve this wonderful tradition. … My family has lived in this wonderful town for over 30 years. I am doing this purely as a public service and do not expect nor will accept anything in return.”

He promised the first 100 donors a T-shirt celebrating the event and said any excess donations would be put into an account for future events. He also wants to set up a nonprofit organization “to perpetuate this wonderful event.”

By Saturday morning the snowball was growing. By press time on Tuesday afternoon, he was just a couple of thousand dollars away from being able to head for Hauer’s restaurant and tell him to start finalizing the show.

Harris, principal and owner of Calacles, a company specializing in business strategy, marketing and Web site design, put his talents to good use. He says it’s the first time he’s stepped into a role in the community, beyond donating money to charity.

He has been joined by a long list of good people. It starts with Deborah Marengo of Marengo Morton Architects and Goldfish Point Cafe, who contacted Harris when she read of his campaign on the Light’s Web site. She kicked her network of friends and business contacts into high gear and joined the campaign.

She even invited people who had canceled July 4th parties when they heard the fireworks had been canceled and encouraged them to donate.

Among the long list of others pitching in in a big way to get the show on the road are Pasquales on Prospect and the Irving Hughes company, who were among the first to jump on board. Other local businesses and hotels and a growing list of families and anonymous donors made donations large and small to help bring the lights back to La Jolla’s Fourth of July.

They all represent what is good about La Jolla and what gives us hope that, working together, we can find answers to the challenges facing La Jolla.