La Jolla Village Merchants Association elects officers, makes committee appointments

By Pat Sherman

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) elected a new crop of officers at its Nov. 14 meeting.

Board members Phil Coller and Nancy Warwick will retain their positions as board president and vice president, respectively. Tom Brady continues as treasurer and newly elected board member Krista Baroudi takes the reins as secretary. Lorna York, Mark Krasner, Mike Soleri and Trenton Bonner also joined the board last month.

After considerable discussion, President Phil Coller announced LJVMA’s community advisory group appointments: Deborah Marengo, Anna Palmer and Matt Clifford (La Jolla Planned District Ordinance Committee); Tom Brady and Joe Matibag (Traffic and Transportation Board); and Deborah Marengo, Sheila Fortune and Tom Brady (Coastal Access and Parking Board).

“I’d like to thank all those people who do that extra work,” Coller said. “There are some big issues on all three of those advisory boards.”

In other Village Merchants Association action

■ Financial Statements:

Treasurer Tom Brady said audited financial statements for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012 will be distributed at LJVMA’s next meeting. Executive Director Sheila Fortune said the organization recently passed audits by both the city and an independent accountant.

The LJVMA has roughly $99,000 in business improvement district (BID) funds left from the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011 (after subtracting outstanding bills from the previous BID-funded organization, Promote La Jolla, and $46,000 in seed money granted to launch LJVMA). The city requests that all funds carried over from a previous fiscal year be budged for and spent in the current year.

■ Coastal Access Funds:

The newly revived Coastal Access and Parking Board has about $460,000, which Coller said must be spent in a “very specific way,” mainly involving off-site parking and shuttle services.

“We have to figure out how to spend that money in a practical way,” he said. About $60,000 of that is allocated for a program that provides discounted parking to about 120 people employed at businesses throughout the Village.

■ Information Center:

Construction began Nov. 15 on the future home of the La Jolla Village Information Center at 1162 Prospect St. The new space will combine the LJVMA offices with the existing Visitor Center on Herschel Avenue.

Though volunteers stepped forward to offer assistance with the construction, Fortune said LJVMA is still seeking monetary contributions for light panels, touch screens, electronics, carpeting, brochures and other items needed for the launch. Donors will have their names engraved on a plaque featured prominently at the new center.

The rent on the new space will be about $90,000 to $100,000 a year more than the existing space, Coller said, though the LJVMA expects the organization will cover the rent through merchandise sales, advertising space and a $50,000 city grant formerly issued to the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau to maintain the current Visitor Center. The new center will house Fortune and four part-time employees, as well as 20 volunteers.

■ Cove Odors

: Coller noted concerns that the stench emanating from La Jolla Cove could progress from a public nuisance to a public health issue. He asked that someone from LJVMA step up as the group’s representative to champion a solution, coordinating with legislators and government agencies with a stake in the issue.

■ Visitor Map:

Advertising sales for a map of the Village to be handed out at the new Information Center and at key sites throughout the county have closed. The group was scheduled to meet with the designer this week.

■ Golf Tourney:

The LJVMA is adjusting plans for its involvement in the Farmers Insurance Open golf tournament, Jan. 21-27 at Torrey Pines Golf Course. The association could not obtain participation from parking garage operators weekdays, so a shuttle service to bring players, staff and visitors from the tournament to the Village will only be offered on the weekend. LJVMA plans to create banners welcoming golf fans to La Jolla. Haute La Jolla Nights events are planned for Thursday through Saturday of the tourney.

■ Belvedere Project:

William Berwin of Coastal Development Company and LJVMA board member and attorney Mark Krasner will donate their expertise to shepherd the Belvedere Promenade project at Prospect Street and Girard Avenue from concept to planning stages. Coller said their assistance would be “very critical” to help the project progress.

On Nov. 15, LJVMA representatives met with 10 property owners adjacent to the proposed project, which replaces a one-way section of Prospect Street with a pedestrian promenade. The project must receive the written approval of all 10 of the property owners, who would be affected by the adjustment to the public right-of-way and traffic circulation.

Though several of the property owners have donated money toward the promenade, objection from just one of them could kill the entire project, Coller noted.

If approved, Coller said he hopes construction on the Belvedere Promenade will begin after Labor Day 2013 and be completed by Spring Break of 2014.

“That’s very optimistic, but that’s the plan,” Coller said.

Associate Memberships:

It was announced that Claudette Berwin will spearhead the drive for LJVMA associate memberships, which are available to businesses just outside the business improvement district, at the LJVMA’s discretion.

Next meeting:

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association will hold its next meeting 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12 at the Cuvier Club, 7776 Eads Ave. For more information, visit