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Intervention better late than never

The cries about the sewer and water line work in the Village have been heard, thanks to Councilwoman Sherri Lightner’s effort in mobilizing an e-mail blast by the La Jolla Business Improvement District.

The last-minute effort to keep the work moving until it’s done has earned her our thanks, but we also need to send demerits in her direction and the city staff’s for letting it come to this. They had to know the impact this project would have on our community, which depends on its appearance and movement of traffic to draw visitors and locals to shop in the Village. And they had to build in some extra time, knowing that there are always unexpected issues in a project of this magnitude. So why did it take the project to go down to the summer moratorium wire to get people motivated to get something done?

The project has had its issues all along – ripped up streets, equipment taking up parking spots, dirt all over merchants windows and awnings. If communications had been better along the way, maybe a decision could have been made sooner on whether to extend the summer moratorium, which technically went into effect on Monday.

At least local voices were heard. And therein lies another rub: The LJBID, which teamed up with Lightner to get the e-mail done, covers more than 1,100 fee-paying businesses and only about 50 members responded. Why did the call for action happen only a week before the work was due to stop for the summer? And why did only a small percentage of those affected weigh in?

Let’s use this mess as a learning experience. Get involved in what’s going on around La Jolla. Attend meetings so your community leaders can hear YOUR voice and not just their own. Speak up before it’s too late to get something done, as it almost was in this case.

And now, get ready for a few more weeks of dust and dirt and disruption in the Village before we dive into what will hopefully be a more prosperous summer for our merchants than 2009. Let’s just cross our fingers that the project is really done by the end of June. If not, we’ll be asking why not and holding the city’s feet to the fire on the Traffic and Transportation Board’s request that the contractor be fined if the work isn’t done by then.