Rebuilding BID may be a solution

By Rick Wildman

President, Promote La Jolla

La Jolla merchants are entitled to have a viable Business Improvement District.

The Promote La Jolla BID has probably been insolvent and likely technically bankrupt since 2007. Through the end of 2008, PLJ cash flow apparently sustained debt payments partially through the contributions of its members to the PLJ Foundation.

The down economy, coupled with the results of the city’s Consumer Fraud Hotline investigation, effectively shut down PLJ. The anonymous Fraud Hotline Report proved to be the death knell of PLJ. As a result, the 2009 PLJ Board had zero budgetary “wiggle room.” Previously available funds were replaced by the “sweat equity” of the entire community.

The La Jolla Town Council Foundation has worked diligently, but so far unsuccessfully, to reach an agreement with the city to allow the use of the $90,000 recently collected from La Jolla BID members to benefit the BID merchants.

However, a complex array of rules and regulations now constrains creative mechanics of the process necessary to jump-start this new BID concept. Despite everyone’s hard work the implementation of the city’s La Jolla BID has become daunting.

The only solution to this dilemma may be for the La Jolla merchant community to create a new La Jolla Business Improvement District. This will require ideas from both the business community and the community at large. As we begin anew, we must avoid a repeat of past mistakes.

In a larger sense, the city has sometimes been frustrated in dealing with insular minorities within our communities. Sometimes well-intentioned people step forward to oppose majority will. Although it is important that everyone have a voice in matters of community interest, it is equally important that no “self-appointed committee” of one or of a few be able to thwart the will of the majority. Democracy depends on majority rule.

Therefore, it is essential that we have a new framework for community organizations and committees to ensure that common sense and decorum can prevail.