Guard changes with Town Council presidency


After serving back-to-back, one-year terms as La Jolla Town Council president, attorney Glen Rasmussen is stepping down to be replaced by long-distance swimmer and hairstylist Anne Cleveland.

Cleveland gave kudos to Rasmussen and his leadership style. “One of the best things I noticed about Glen’s term as president is he really brought the community, various groups, together,” she said. “If there was any dissension, it melted away as people worked together.”

Long-time La Jollan Cleveland singled out Rasmussen’s work on streetscape beautification as a case in point. “The streetscape agreement between the Town Council and Promote La Jolla, a lot of that came about because of Glen’s good influence there.”

Rasmussen is glad to be able to pass the baton to someone capable and committed to accomplishing something for the community. “Anne is a very well-respected and smart woman, a very accomplished leader, a fair-minded person,” he said. “She has the experience on the town council to lead us for another year.”

Looking back on his two years as president, Rasmussen noted a lot of things came to pass. He pointed out the dues-driven town council’s budget is sound. Most importantly, he noted steps were taken to create a more cooperative relationship between the various community advisory groups. “We’ve tried to provide a forum for the residents, and for the businesses, particularly small businesses, which are suffering in La Jolla,” he said.

Rasmussen’s administration also saw public informational forums presented on political candidates and the controversial Miramar Airport initiative, which sought, unsuccessfully, to convert the Marine base for joint use as a commercial airstrip.

Reflecting on his administration, Rasmussen noted the town council-sponsored annual Christmas parade has done well and continues to be well supported by the community. “We will continue to try and improve that,” he said.

Looking ahead, Rasmussen believes community beautification will be an important issue Cleveland’s administration will have to grapple with. “Lots of volunteers are required for the much-needed beautification of La Jolla,” he said. “Esther Viti is carrying on (as chair) and increasing involvement of work-minded community members who’d like to contribute to beautifying our community.”

A La Jolla Kiwanian for 10 years and past president of that group, Rasmussen has been involved with the Town Council for about five years. As a member of both groups, he’s come to a couple of conclusions. “The future of La Jolla is not primarily the increase in the value of its property, and it is not a requirement to have lived here for 30 years in order to get involved in local decisions that affect the quality of life in this community.”

Rasmussen believes the most compelling community cause right now is doing whatever is necessary to preserve the Riford senior center. “This center for adult activity and support must be helped by all La Jollans to continue,” he said. “Please come to the open house event ‘Rockin at the Riford’ on Sunday, May 6 and support the continuing existence and improved service of this charity that will, after all, help each one of us, our parents and our children if it is endowed.”

Cleveland has a motto for her new administration which will begin in May. “I want to bring some unity to the community,” she said.

Best known for her long-distance swimming, Cleveland is one of 10 men and eight women, the second American woman, to accomplish the incredible feat of doing a double crossing of the English Channel. She’ll be doing a single-crossing of the Channel again in July.

Given the city of San Diego’s funding crunch, Cleveland pointed out it will be up to communities like La Jolla to come up with creative fund-raisers to generate the revenue needed to do important community projects. She has one such project in mind.

“We’re going to have a little fund-raising contest for people to guess what my Channel swim time will be, anything between eight and 14 hours,” she said. “Whoever guesses closest to my time will split the pot with the Town Council.”

To train for long-distance swims like the English Channel crossing, Cleveland swims six days a week at the Cove. She supplements that with pool training. In the end though, she said the equation for how much time it takes to make the Channel crossing is about 80 percent tide conditions and luck, and 20 percent the speed of the swimmer.

Cleveland characterizes herself as an old School La Jollan, someone interested in preserving the community’s small-town atmosphere and charm. “I’d like to keep La Jolla the quiet, seaside village,” she said, “rather than have us become a busy little metropolis.”

Rather than being changed, Cleveland believes the Jewel’s image just needs to be shined a bit. “I’d like to see us polish the jewel,” she said. “Downtown La Jolla has a bit of a dingy appearance. We’d like to look at ways, projects, to buff out La Jolla, make it look nice, especially downtown, make it look more like the city of Carmel.”

Cleveland will not be ego-driven in her new role as town council president. “It’s not all about me and my agenda,” she said. “We represent the community. I’d like to see the voice of the community be heard, whether that’s people speaking up or writing letters to La Jolla newspapers or coming to town council or community planning association meetings.”