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The Map, vote for Motor Car Classic good for La Jolla

Community won out last week in La Jolla, and that’s a good thing.

You only have to visit The Map at Kellogg Park to see what can happen when good people put their hearts and minds together.

The shoreside map highlighting the underwater treasures off our coast is a tribute to Mary Coakley, who was dubbed “The Angel” during Friday’s dedication. It was Coakley who took the idea to do something with the muddy patch of ground next to the new restroom building – which she also had a hand in – and turned it into reality.

The thought she put into the project speaks volumes. She found the artists and scientists to get behind the dream first proposed by Marc Simpson and recognized that the heritage of the Kumeyaay tribes could add to the educational value of The Map. Then she worked her way through the halls of the city and county bureaucracy to get approvals and financial support.

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But Coakley’s example is about more than just the money that has to be raised to accomplish the things that we want to better our community.

It’s about the idea that people who want to accomplish something can do it by working together.

The same could be said of the 15-1-1 vote of the La Jolla Town Council to approve Promote La Jolla’s plans to charge admission at January’s Motor Car Classic at La Jolla Cove.

The council’s parks and beaches subcommittee had refused to approve closing the park if a fee were to be charged, although it had initially OK’d the show itself.

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So the matter came to the full board last week, and trustees spoke up: It’s all about bringing people to La Jolla to patronize local businesses.

As the Classic enters its fifth year, leaders of the business improvement district decided that charging a fee to get up close with the million-dollar cars could benefit La Jolla more if they made more money.

It’s no small undertaking – an estimated outlay of $80,000 to get it off the ground -- but with the admission fee, they estimate there’s the prospect of $40,000 in income to be rolled back into the Village. Organizers say they want to put $5,000 into a fund to get the Scripps Park restrooms rebuilt, $1,200 to plant new palms at the park, $26,000 to replace all of the decaying flower baskets that line Village streets, and $2,500 to the Monarch School for homeless children.

If people come to see the cars, they’ll eat in local restaurants, they reasoned. Those showing their cars will stay in local hotels, and if the show gains in stature, maybe it will even become a weekend when the town is sold out as happens in Carmel, organizers said.

For the most part, Town Council trustees agreed. And even the two trustees who didn’t vote to approve the project as a fee event agreed that residents need to support local businesses, particularly in these trying economic times.

Their action showed, as does The Map at the Shores, that if La Jollans work together our community will be a better place for it.