Sparkle & Shine Cleanup Crew to the rescue

La Jolla Village Merchants Association rolls out program to tidy the Village

Broken glass, bottle tops, wire coat hangers, a golf tee, screws, weeds, dried palm fronds, dog feces and a disconcerting amount of cigarette butts were among items collected during the first day of La Jolla Village Merchants Association’s (LJVMA) new rolling trash collection program.

Following up on LJVMA’s successful Sparkle and Shine banner program — in which businesses and residents sponsored banners throughout the Village to fund steam cleaning of sidewalks — the association is now paying an employee, Mary Deering, to collect trash throughout the Village, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

The LJVMA uses an annual assessment on business owners in the La Jolla business improvement district (BID) to attract business to the Village and create a pleasing commercial environment. It also applies for grants and private funding for its efforts, which include running a Visitor Information Center on Prospect Street.

In response to public concerns about La Jolla’s increasingly litter-strewn streets, the LJVMA purchased a cart containing a trashcan, broom and dustpan, rake, gloves and plastic bags for picking up dog waste. It is also funding a stipend for part-time cart operator Mary Deering, who will pull weeds, pick up trash and empty the tops of any overflowing public trash containers.

During the program’s first day, April 1, LJVMA trustee Nancy Warwick accompanied Deering (who also works for Warwick at her Girard Avenue bookstore), setting off down Silverado Street, then heading up Fay Avenue to Pearl Street.

“Today’s just sort of to see how well we can cover the (area) in three hours,” Warwick said, later noting that the work was exhausting and the program could benefit from another employee or volunteers. On certain days Deering may put the cart in her truck and drive it to the far end of Pearl Street to begin at the opposite end of the Village.

“I’m already grossed out,” Warwick said, with a laugh, picking up a bag filled with dog droppings left on the street and a wad of discarded chewing gum.

After just 40 minutes, the trashcan in the cart was more than half full.

“Even though we’ve picked up a lot I don’t think we’ve hit a really bad area yet,” Warwick said. “It’s just lots of little things — more cigarette butts than I was expecting.”

Depositing a coat hanger and discarded journal in her can, Deering added, “You’ll never know what treasures you’re going to find.”

Warwick said she may ask if any business owners in the Village will let Deering empty her trashcan in their dumpster along her route, allowing her to pick up more trash.

The program is funded by quarterly advertising displayed on the pushcart and on T-shirts worn by Deering during trash collection. Warwick’s is the first cart sponsor; Greg Noonan & Associates (of Berkshire Hathaway) and LJVMA trustee Michael Dorvillier (of Symbio Financial Partners) are the inaugural T-shirt sponsors. The cart sponsorship is $2,500; T-shirt sponsorship is $1,500 for three days a week or $3,000 for six days a week.

The LJVMA is also soliciting smaller donations to help fund the program, as well as volunteers to accompany Deering on her route and collect trash.

Be a Partner in Grime! Those who are not able to contribute financially to the program are encouraged to embark on their own Village cleaning excursions (which, if significant and well-documented via photos, could be published in a future edition of La Jolla Light).

To donate to the program or volunteer, call (858) 454-5718 or e-mail