Opinion: How would you spend $250,000?

Mike McLaughlin

BID and Organizational Consultant

What would you do with a quarter-million-dollars? That’s something La Jolla village business owners will get to decide in the next few months.

Since 1992 some 1,200 businesses in the Village have been paying about $170,000 in annual assessments to the La Jolla Business Improvement District (LJ-BID). The district was formed by the City of San Diego after being petitioned to do so by La Jolla business owners. Under state law, the money can be used for any activity which has the potential to improve the business climate within the BID.Marketing, special events, street lights, median improvements, signage, and security are a few of the things on which the money can be spent.

But there’s a hitch in La Jolla. The city contracts with a not-for-profit business

betterment corporation – a 501(c)(6) – to oversee the use of the BID money.

Without a corporation and contract it’s very difficult to get the money back to the community. And here in the Village there isn’t a corporation and contract. So the money mostly sits in a dedicated account at the city. Over the next 18 months that account will grow to about $250,000, with no way to spend it.

That’s where La Jolla Businesses Unite! comes in. It’s a cooperative effort to look to the future by encouraging owners and managers of businesses paying the assessment to come together in an atmosphere of openness, mutual respect, and transparency. It’s goal: Unite interested businesses in creating a new 501(c)(6).

Get acquainted coffees have been held every Monday in November at Hennessey’s, 7811 Herschel Ave. There’s one more on Nov. 29 and additional ones will be set up if business owners request them.

There’s also an organization meeting from 4 to 5:30 p.m. on Dec. 2 at the La Jolla Rec Center. The first 30 minutes is informational, followed by formation of working groups. If you can’t attend because of the holiday season, there will be additional opportunities in January to join in.

More information is available at

or 619-295-5171.

This is a golden opportunity for La Jolla businesses to unite — $250,000 golden. Don’t miss out. Join in.

McLaughlin and his company TMC have been retained for the La Jolla project by the Business Improvement District Foundation working in conjunction with Councilmember Sherri Lightner’s office and the City’s Office of Small Business.