Promote La Jolla gets new look


Six who oppose metered parking win board seats

Six of the seven candidates winning seats on the Promote La Jolla board represent a group opposed to metered parking in the Village.

Restaurateur George Hauer was the only incumbent or candidate backed by the current board to retain his seat.

Of the 1,200 members of La Jolla’s Business Improvement District, 284 voted in the election to fill out the 15-member board.

In descending order of vote tally, the seven new PLJ board members are: Jennifer Clark, Maudlin; George Hauer, George’s At The Cove; Glen Rasmussen, attorney; Shannon Turner, Girard Ave. Collection; Brian Miller, Geppetto’s; Daisy Fitzgerald, Ark Antiques; and Rick Wildman, attorney.

The results, which were to be affirmed at the group’s annual meeting Wednesday night, came as something of a shock to at least one winner.

“I am very surprised that I was the top vote-getter,” said Jennifer Clark who owns Maudlin, a high-end furniture store. “I didn’t even think I would make the board this year.”

Clark said she thinks the reason she did so well is that she was one of seven candidates on “a slate backed by the no-paid parking group.”

“We went out and canvassed the streets and met our fellow businesspeople and assured them we are here for their concerns and want to talk to them about their issues and ideas, which we are always open and available to discuss,” she added.

Another top vote-getter in the PLJ election was attorney Glen Rasmussen, a former La Jolla Town Council president.

He said he ran for the PLJ board because “I’m a member of the Business Improvement District and because I care, not only about the image of La Jolla, but about getting things done for the betterment of all of us.”

“There’s a huge interrelationship between tourist-oriented businesses, resident-oriented businesses and the residents,” he said. “There are gaps that exist between them that need to be closed.”

He said improved communication between the various groups would help, adding, “That’s only going to happen by listening and honest dialogue and by getting rid of the negative rhetoric.”

Re-elected PLJ director restaurateur George Hauer noted tough economic times lay ahead.

“It’s definitely going to be a tough year, there’s no question,” he said. “This thing (financial crisis) is rippling through the economy at every level from bars and restaurants to retail. There’s nobody going to escape this.”

Deborah Marengo, Promote La Jolla’s president, noted the seven new board members won’t actually take their seats until January 2009, when they will be participate in PLJ’s annual retreat.

“It is an opportunity for new members to become acquainted with the board, bring new ideas, learn about the different committees where most of the work is done and figure out where their interests are best suited to work with which committees in setting out priorities for those committees to work on.”

The economic downturn presents challenges requiring the involvement of everyone in La Jolla, Marengo added.

“This is going to be a very difficult year,” Marengo concluded. “Everyone in this community is going to have to come together and work to support each other.”

Town Council President Darcy Ashley said she thinks the new board members “will create some positive movement to do some really terrific things at a time when the Village really needs it.”