Seven seats to open on Villlage Merchants’ board in La Jolla


Election ballots due by Oct. 14, advertisers sought for Sparkle & Shine trash collection cart

Seven seats are up for grabs on the La Jolla Village Merchants Association’s (LJVMA) board of directors this fall.

LJVMA board trustees serve two-year terms, helping the business improvement district (BID) group make decisions about how an assessment on Village businesses is used to woo customers to the area and help beautify the Village of La Jolla.

Board members up for reelection, should they chose to run again, include: Billy Borja (Orangetheory Fitness), Michael Dorvillier (Symbio Financial), board president Claude-Anthony Marengo (Marengo Morton Architects), registered nurse Carol Mills, attorney Glen Rasmussen, Kevin Smith (Kevco) and Nancy Warwick (Warwick’s Books).

Although the last few years LJVMA held elections in-person during its October meeting, the group voted in June to conduct this year’s election via mail.

The group allocated $3,000 for two mailings to be sent to its approximately 1,300 merchant members, including self-nomination forms and official ballots. All ballots will be opened and counted during the group’s Oct. 14 board meeting, executive director Sheila Fortune said. For more information, e-mail

In other LJVMA news

Fireworks update: President Marengo noted that the Fourth of July fireworks at La Jolla Cove — this year produced in connection with the LJVMA — went off as planned, although the event incurred an additional $6,000 in unexpected licensing fees.

Fireworks organizer Deborah Marengo said this year’s event cost $50,444 to produce, plus a roughly $2,000 permit fee that the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control board bills in the fall.

Deborah Marengo said the pyrotechnics contractor, Los Angeles-based Court Wizard Special Effects, has a higher-level state license to operate pyrotechnics, though the local fire marshal required the event maintain the required, lower-level local permit to operate fireworks.

Marengo said all donations for this year’s event were secured on time. “It was a good partnership with the La Jolla Town Foundation and the La Jolla Village Merchants Association,” she said, noting the fireworks lasted longer this year due to a surplus of pyrotechnics that allowed the operator to reload his cannons at the end. “We pretty much got a show and a half,” she said.

Sea lion meeting: President Marengo noted that a July 7 meeting with staff from the office of Mayor Kevin Faulconer, the restaurant association, San Diego Tourism & Marketing District and La Jolla Town Council was productive, in its discussion of how to solve the stench from the growing sea lion population at La Jolla Cove.

“The mayor is taking an added interest now,” Marengo assured, noting that most of the sea lions are now back in the Channel Islands for breeding season. He said it is crucial to devise a method of deterring them from congregating on the beach at La Jolla Cove before they start to return in late August and September. Marengo said the group is scheduled to meet again with the mayor’s office next month.

Dissolving the PDO: President Marengo also noted that he received a “mixed review” when presenting his plan for dissolving the La Jolla Planned District Ordinance (PDO), or blueprint for design, when presenting to the La Jolla Town Council and La Jolla Community Planning Association this month. Marengo argues that the document, created in 1984, is outdated and conflicts with the current requirements of developers and tenants hoping to open shop in the Village (read more at

“The proof’s in the pudding,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of developments that are trying to deviate from the retail requirement.”

Lynda Pfeifer, a spokesperson for the city’s Development Services Department, told La Jolla Light the city’s PDO documents were created prior to the establishment of its land development code (LDC). “To eliminate a PDO would require a rezone action,” she said, via e-mail, noting that “PDOs account for nearly 1,000 pages of extra regulations that, for the most part, are just slightly different than the citywide regulations of the LDC. Since the adoption of the land development code, the city’s LDC Work Program has included an item to, where possible, fold PDO properties into citywide zoning as part of the community plan update process, or where requested by a community with the goal to simplify and streamline development review, remove redundancy and contradiction, and standardize the code framework.”

Pfeifer said city staff are not actively working on anything related to La Jolla at this time, though community plan updates are ongoing in Southeast San Diego, San Ysidro, Golden Hill, North Park and Mid-City — each of which is transitioning from PDOs to citywide zoning (which already occurred in Otay Mesa).

Village trashcans: LJVMA trustee James Niebling, a principal at Esteban Interiors, said he met with Matthew Cleary of the city’s Environmental Services Department and refuse collection manager Phyllis Marrow, to discuss trash collection in the Village, and the appearance of existing city cans throughout the Village.

“The good news is that they’ve added all the (trash) containers on Girard Avenue, Silverado Street and Wall Street to the weekend litter route, so all the trashcans within the Village of La Jolla — 35 of them total — are being picked up seven days a week,” Niebling said.

He credited La Jolla resident and LJVMA volunteer trash collector Jeff Gerwin with helping communicate to city staff where there have been issues and room for improvement with trash collection.

Although Niebling said the city does not have the ability to change the existing concrete cans, he said the city was amenable to repairing and beautifying them.

“I’m going to be coming back to the design committee with some options in terms of paint and different ways to make them more unified and a little cleaner, and just a little bit more up-to-date and not so aesthetically unattractive,” Niebling said, noting the city will be performing a survey of Village trashcans during the next few months, to determine if La Jolla’s trash collection needs are being met.

“They’ll come back to us with the results of that survey in the next couple of months,” he said.

Banner program: Trustee Nancy Warwick said LJVMA is still seeking a sponsor for its trash collection cart during the final three months of the year. The LJVMA pays an employee to collect trash throughout the Village, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday-Saturday. The current cart sponsor is La Jolla philanthropist Sherry Ahern, who is using the space to promote the La Jolla Open Aire Market (9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays at Girard Avenue and Genter Street) and the annual La Jolla Art & Wine Festival (Oct. 10-11), both of which she founded.

The program is funded by quarterly advertising on the pushcart and on T-shirts worn by the employee during trash collection. Cart sponsorship is $2,500; T-shirt sponsorship is $1,500 for three days a week or $3,000 for six days a week.

To date, the cart has raised $11,400 for Village cleanups. To advertise on the cart, donate to the program or volunteer, e-mail or call (858) 454-5718.