La Jolla Village Merchants Association elects new board members

By Pat Sherman

The La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) welcomed some new faces onto its board of directors Oct. 10, and congratulated a few current board members who won their bids for reelection.

Of the 12 candidates vying for a slot on LJVMA’s board, the top eight vote-getters receiving a two- year board term were: current board president Phil Coller (61 votes); hotelier Krista Baroudi (55); restaurateur Michael Soleri (51); attorney Stott Levin (48), gallery owner Lorna York (47); real estate agent Trenton Bonner (46); merchant Leon Chow (43); and CPA and attorney Mark Krasner (39).

Before the election results were announced, current board president Phil Coller thanked resigning and termed-out board members for their service, and offered a caveat to new members.

“Being a director of this board requires commitment,” he said, noting that board members are required to offer a “very low” four hours per month minimum of service to the organization, and attend a course on the Brown Act (which governs public access to local legislative meetings).

“Some people are passionate and others are not,” Colleer said. “We are looking for passion on this board. If you’re elected and you can’t commit to a reasonable amount of time, attend almost every board meeting, actually build up committees about something that you have a passion (for) ... please decline. I don’t want anybody on this board, including me, who isn’t passionate.”

Officer elections will be held next month.

In other La Jolla Village Merchants Association news:

■ Pillage the Village:

An array of Village merchants will participate in a ‘Pillage the Village’ trick-or-treat-style event for kids along Girard Avenue, 3-6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 31.

During the event, designed as a safe and secure Halloween option for children, merchants displaying Pillage posters will welcome trick or treaters to their stores.

Audit results:

Tom Brady said LJVMA’s first audit will soon be finished, providing numbers for the organization’s fiscal year, ending June 30, 2012. Results will be available at

La Jolla Christmas Parade:

Ann Kerr Bache of the La Jolla Town Council offered an update on this year’s La Jolla Christmas Parade and Holiday Festival. She urged the merchants to help promote the parade, which is in dire need of funding if it is to occur this year.

Kerr Bache said she has sent more than 300 letters soliciting donations for the parade, which costs about $55,000 to produce for security, insurance and fees.

A county Neighborhood Reinvestment grant the parade foundation usually received through County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price is no longer available, due to a change in rules governing how the grant money is spent, Kerr Bache said.

The LJVMA directors voted to approve a motion offering their support for the parade and holiday festival, 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2.

The deadline to reserve a float in this year’s parade is Oct. 31. Last year’s event included the participation of more than 2,000 people. To donate, visit

■ Parking board funds:

LJVMA directors approved opening a bank account for monies under the purview of the Coastal Access and Parking Board (chaired by Dan Allen), which began holding meetings again after a hiatus. The board previously maintained a bank account through Promote La Jolla (the BID-funded precursor to the LJVMA).

The nine-member parking board contains three members from the Town Council, Community Planning Association and Merchants Association. The parking board has about $70,000, Coller said.

■ Information Center grant:

The LJVMA expects to receive more than $40,000 in grant money to run the new La Jolla Information Center on Prospect Street, slated to open on or before Jan. 1. The grant money previously went to the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau, which ran the La Jolla Visitor Center. Services previously offered by the Visitor Center will be offered at the Information Center, which also will house the LJVMA offices.

Coller said the space in front of the center will be refurbished to serve as “the standard” in cleanliness and aesthetics for other merchants and property owners to follow.

■ Design division:

LJVMA director James Niebling noted a shift in the allocation of funds: $12,000 will be transferred from the holiday décor fund to the landscaping fund, for the installation of ground planters at key intersections, hanging planter maintenance and landscaping in front of the new La Jolla Information Center. The total design budget for the year is $82,000.

An additional 1,000 linear feet of roof-line holiday lighting will be added on upper Girard Avenue, east of Pearl Street, for a total of 5,000 linear feet of holiday roof-line lighting.

■ New associate member:

Tim Schenck, who calls himself “Tour Guide Tim,” was announced as a new LJVMA associate member. Schenck offers tours of La Jolla Village and Torrey Pines from downtown San Diego hotels.

■ Concours d’Elegance:

Michael Dorvillier, chair of the La Jolla Historical Society’s annual Concours d’Elegance auto show fundraiser, said the weekend of next year’s event (Sunday, April 7) will again kick off with a movie in Ellen Browning Scripps Park, under the guidance of the San Diego Film Foundation, which held part of its annual festival in La Jolla last month.

A kickoff VIP party for the event will be Friday, April 5 at La Valencia Hotel. This year’s event will honor spacious classic automobiles.