La Jolla Village Merchants gearing up for election, activities

Ten people are vying for seats on the La Jolla Village Merchants Association Board, which will hold its first general meeting on Oct. 12.

At that time, ballots will be counted while a regular meeting is conducted — if 50 members show up and constitute a quorum. If they don’t, the bylaws have a built-in mechanism to continue the ballot counting while holding a board meeting, President Phil Coller explained last week.

The group consists of nearly 1,250 businesses in a 30-block area around the Village. Each pays a fee to the business improvement district with its business license fee. The LJVMA contracts with the city to run the district.

The candidates, who will fill five three-year terms and one seat that became open when Bryan King of Karl Strauss resigned, are: incumbents Claudette Berwin, Gallery Properties; Kate Brainard, Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy; Leon Chow, C&H Photo; Glidia Holland, Glidia Salon; and newcomers Debbie Newell, Adelaide’s; James Niebling, Esteban Interiors; Anthony Scoma, La Jolla Pediatric Dentistry, and Patrick Tira, Tira Law APC.

Meanwhile, the board and a core of volunteers have been pressing ahead with a number of projects that were outlined at the Sept. 14 meeting and with a strategic plan that defines its organizational structure.

The group has adopted the Main Street USA model, which splits into four divisions, including economic development, promotions, organization and design.

Some of the projects underway are:

• Partnering with the La Jolla Historical Society to coordinate events around the Classic Car Show on April 1 that would benefit merchants, perhaps by having some of the events along Girard Avenue or other areas;

• Working with local real estate brokers to get vacancies filled and inform prospective tenants about community design and parking standards and processes;

• Exploring a pressure-washing co-op that would enable merchants to join in on regular sidewalk cleanings;

• A holiday window decorating contest for merchants, being coordinated by James Neibling of Esteban Interiors;

• Evaluating options for holiday lighting that could be expanded to the pedestrian overcrossing near The Children’s School;

• Reviewing the street banner program, including options for a “Shop Local” banner campaign;

• Finding a new contractor for the hanging baskets throughout the Village;

• Looking at options for new trash cans, newsrack kiosks and sidewalk planters;

• Organizing “grand opening” events for new businesses;

• Preparing for the Oct. 21 Gallery, Wine Walk and Taste event.