New La Jolla Town Council president aims to add members

La Jolla Town Council’s newly elected president, Rick Wildman, is a high-profile attorney in town who wears two other hats: as president of Promote La Jolla Inc., the community’s former Business Improvement District, and incoming president of La Jolla Sunrise Rotary.

A La Jolla resident since 1979 and a military veteran, Wildman was “recruited” for his new post by outgoing Town Council President Earl Van Inwegen. He said when the order came down, he answered the call.

“He was a general; I was only a captain,” quipped Wildman, who was a combat engineer with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Hitting the ground running, Wildman said there are two primary needs to be addressed during his council administration.

“Membership and finance are the first two issues we’re going to look at,” he said. “We really want to increase membership, and I’m hoping to bring in more merchants, maybe a merchant a month.”

Wildman got a bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado, a master’s degree from the University of San Diego, and a law degree from Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

As an attorney, Wildman said he has prosecuted, defended and settled or tried countless civil bench and jury cases. He was involved in the Ponzi scheme case involving J. David Dominelli as an attorney for the Official Creditor’s Committee of 5,000 creditors.

With his background in business affairs, Wildman said he would like to work to try to achieve a greater understanding between commercial and residential interests in town.

“If we have a large representation of both business people and residents, then we’re going to be able to have more impact when you go to the city and say, ‘This is what we want,’ ” he said. “The goal is to have residents and businesses realize how they can both benefit by working together.”

Wildman described the Town Council as a “microcosm of a government,” noting that it has potential to work for community improvement facilitating communications. “Everybody should have a voice in what happens in La Jolla,” he said.

An earlier suggestion that a new business improvement district might be created under the auspices of the Town Council was characterized by Wildman as “too much of a quantum leap.”

“Right now, we just need to work on building the existing organization,” he said.

A proponent of the “shop local” idea, Wildman praised La Jolla’s “small-town atmosphere” and called it a good model and the community’s foundation. “First you have to build a strong local community,” he said.

Aside from getting things accomplished, there’s another item that ranks high on Wildman’s list: “The most important thing is to really have fun.”

“We’ll see what happens,” he added. “I think it’s going to be great, though.”

Other newly elected officers of La Jolla Town Council are: Rob Hildt, first vice president; John Weinstein, second vice president; Debbie Dorsee, secretary; and John Donaldson, re-elected as treasurer.