“We owe a duty to merchants of La Jolla to promote them, make their chances for success better by removing foreign obstacles to their success,” said Mark Krasner of the law firm of Blanchard, Krasner & French during discussion of the group’s possible support for an ongoing lawsuit by local merchants to spur the city to act in cleaning up the Cove sea lion mess.
Noting there were alternatives the merchant group could take with the suit, including not getting involved and lending financial support, Krasner suggested the group join the suit as a nonprofit for a nominal $1 cost. The group voted overwhelmingly in favor of that suggestion.
“This (sea lion) mess is manmade,” said LJVMA chair Claude-Anthony Marengo. “This is an imbalance of nature caused by man plugging holes in the sea wall and sand filling up the swimming area.”
Trustee Claudette Berwin called the issue “very serious.”
“Our mission statement is to encourage a friendly environment,” she said.
Berwin pointed out time is running out to do something about foul Cove odors ahead of upcoming community events — the Farmers Insurance Open at the end of January and the Concours D’Elegance car show in spring — to ensure they are not adversely affected.
Outgoing president Phil Coller was lauded at the meeting for his commitment to launching the business group and getting it off on the right foot. Coller remarked that lots of La Jolla business operators “don’t pay their business license taxes,” a situation he said needs to be rectified.
Coller also called upon merchants to change the downtown Village’s image.
“There is a very big misperception by people who do not live in La Jolla that La Jolla has no parking, traffic is horrendous and there’s better shopping elsewhere,” Coller said. “We have to make plans to engage that market, make sure they understand there are special things La Jolla offers [like] an upbeat shopping experience with its art and eclectic merchants that are here.”
Coller also called upon more merchants to become active in the LJVMA, noting the organization is only as strong as the commitment of its individual members.
At a later special meeting continuing its strategy discussion, the LJVMA debated scaling back or discontinuing Haute La Jolla Nights, an event with live music and merchant discounts to promote the downtown Village that has met with limited success.
The LJVMA opted to postpone discussion of its 2014-15 fiscal year budget beginning mid-year to give members more time to receive and digest financial information.