PLJ spends money to make money

As planning for Promote La Jolla’s biggest fundraiser of the year comes down to the wire, the organization’s board remains hopeful that the city will renew its contract, which would free up funds to support its activities.

At their meeting on Oct. 14, board members agreed to pay $3,000 to Laurel McFarlane, whose firm is organizing and promoting the Nov. 5 Gallery & Wine Walk — and its added restaurant tastings this year.

With its financial situation still in limbo while it awaits a hearing before the city, the board asked a number of questions before agreeing to front the money. Part of the cost will be covered by the fees the galleries are paying to participate; the rest is dependent on ticket sales.

McFarlane, who has waived her $3,000 fee until after the event, told board members that 50 tickets have already been sold, 17 more than at the same time last year. The event features 15 galleries serving wine and in a couple of cases food from local restaurants, but this year it was changed to feature tastings in the restaurants. In all, 18 restaurants are participating.

About 600 tickets must be sold to break even, noted board member Terry Underwood of the Grande Colonial Hotel.

McFarlane said she is hopeful that they will match last year’s sales of 1,000 tickets. They are being sold for $30 in advance at or $35 on the day of the event.

In other news, President Rick Wildman reported that he is still optimistic the board’s status with the city will be resolved soon and that the matter could be on the council agenda on Oct. 27.

Wildman said it appears they have reconciled what he called “irregularities” and completed the formal audit that the city required. He also said they have reached a point of closure with First Republic Bank.