La Jolla cityhood idea gets a nod from Town Council crowd

By Dave Schwab

Staff Writer

Asked who supported the idea of La Jolla become a city, the majority of the 40 or so board members and residents at the La Jolla Town Council meeting last week raised their hand.

That pleased guest speaker Cindy Greatrex, head of a local nonprofit group which is rebooting the incorporation process in the Jewel. She was the featured speaker at the council’s Aug. 12 meeting.

Afterward, she said, she was approached by two people who’d been persuaded to come to the next meeting of Independent La Jolla at 6 p.m. on Aug. 18 at the La Jolla Library, 7555 Draper Ave.

“That’s what it’s all about,” said Greatrex in a phone interview. “The Constitution allows a community like ours to do what we’re trying to do and become a municipality. But it has to be the will of the people. If people don’t want it ... all the money in the world means nothing.”

One way for a village to become a municipality is to get on an election ballot. To do that will require the collecting of signatures from 25 percent of registered voters among La Jolla’s approximately 44,000 residents.

If a cityhood ballot initiative were to pass in La Jolla, current law requires ithe measure to pass another vote by a simple majority, 50 percent plus one, in the rest of San Diego.

Greatrex noted that incorporating is a daunting and time-consuming task requiring working hand-in hand with LAFCO, the Local Agency Formation Commission, a state chartered regulatory agency with countywide jurisdiction responsible for the orderly formation and development of local government agencies.

Even just determining the limits of a city of La Jolla is a major undertaking, noted Greatrex, basically requiring planners to go back to the drawing board in redrawing physical boundaries on maps.

And there’s one other mandatory condition for incorporation: “Alimony” must be paid by the newly forming municipality from the entity from which it is detaching for a period of years. “The law states that the city of San Diego cannot suffer financially due to a village seceding,” Greatrex said.

Though a long and arduous task, Greatrex noted incorporation is “doable.”

“There have been 480 newly formed incorporated municipalities in the state of California since 1850,” she noted.