Meet the candidates for La Jolla Village Merchant's annual elections
Published - 10/07/16 - 05:03 PM | 4362 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It's time once again for La Jolla Village Merchant's annual elections in October, and 12 candidates are vying for 10 available seats on the board.

“The ballots are being mailed in or hand delivered by Oct. 10,” said Sheila Fortune, LJVMA's executive director. “They will be opened and counted at our Oct. 12 BOD meeting, and the order of votes/candidates will be announced at that meeting, or later, if it takes longer than our meeting to count. All (elected) candidates will be sworn in at our Nov. 9 board meeting and new executive committee officers will be elected.”

Carla A. Parra,

owner, Little Vitamin Shop, 1115 Wall St.

“I am new to this community. Previously I owned businesses in the City of La Mesa for 10-plus years. I am very excited to not only have opened a business here, but have also recently moved to this beautiful neighborhood. 

Having said that, the positive feedback and overall support are very encouraging and reinforce my objective, which is to be a part, and do my part, to ensure that the utmost quality and exclusive design of my business and neighboring businesses are felt by locals and visitors alike.

I served as a member of the Live Well Initiative for the City of La Mesa and volunteered in various political campaigns, Republican, Democratic and Independent.”

James A. Niebling,

Esteban Interiors—7605 Girard Ave.

“I have been on the LJVMA board of directors since 2011 and have served as the chair of the Design Division for the first three years of my term. I and the Design Division team have lead the following initiatives: - Landscaping enhancements - Holiday décor vision - Sidewalk furniture repair and beautification - Banner Program Sparkle and Shine campaign.

I have served as the vice-president on the LJVMA board of directors for the last two years of my term. Our key goals for the community remain as follows: - Raise the aesthetics of La Jolla to attract and retain shoppers - Promote public awareness with enhanced design and beautification of the community – Create a new and exciting community for businesses looking to locate in La Jolla.

As a business owner and partner of a flourishing Interior Design Business for over nine years now, I am incredibly excited about the growth potential for La Jolla and understand and support the Main Street Four-Point Approach as an optimum way to elevate the community: - Economic Development – Promotions – Organization – Design.

I was a founding member of The Art & Design District, Little Italy and accomplished many key initiatives: - The “Kettner Nights” events – streetlamp banners – sponsor tags – extensive public relations activities (including TV, and print coverage).

I bring to the board of directors of La Jolla over 25 years of senior level retail management with well-established retailers: - Ralph Lauren – Ann Taylor – Express – Macy’s – Pacific Sunwear.”

John G. Clarke,

Realtor, Your Home Finders Realty Inc., 1237 Prospect St., Suite E

“It’s all about parking, parking, parking. No parking, no retail … Let’s take half our money and rent the use of various bank parking lots and use the other half in valet parking validations for our customers. Thanks.”

Laurnie Durisoe,

owner, Pantai Inn, 1003 Coast Blvd.

“A rich tapestry of community involvement covers 70 years in the village of La Jolla where the roots of a four-generation family business were planted in 1946. The past 35 of these years, Laurnie Durisoe has actively worked in La Jolla, contributing to La Jolla’s commerce and participating in community associations and civic events.

As a Rotarian for the past 20 years in the Rotary Club of La Jolla, Laurnie Durisoe has volunteered throughout her tenure on numerous positions benefiting local philanthropies improving the lives of La Jolla residents. For the past 23 years, Laurnie continues to serve on the board of the San Diego United Service Organizations “USO” which offers assistance to San Diego’s military families. Three years ago Laurnie Durisoe opened Pantai Inn on Coast Boulevard, a Balinese-inspired luxury boutique hotel.

Pantai Inn quickly ascended to becoming TripAdvisor’s No. 1 ranked hotel in La Jolla and the No. 2 ranked hotel in all of San Diego County. Pantai Inn adds an international flair to La Jolla attracting tourists from around the world, adding the economic benefits of its guests patronizing La Jolla’s many fine establishments.

Sole proprietors and family owned companies make up the heart of La Jolla’s businesses. Laurnie Durisoe’s involvement on the La Jolla Merchant's Association's board of directors will bring marketing experience, acumen and dedicated enthusiasm promoting La Jolla.

In addition to Laurnie’s sincere efforts, she brings fresh networking relationships and contact to the organization. Laurnie Durisoe greatly appreciates your support. Thank you.”

Jamie Dickerson,

owner, J. Dixx Photography,

7480 La Jolla Blvd.

“I would love to be on the La Jolla Merchants Association Board to embrace our wonderful business community by attending and photographing their events including ribbon-cutting ceremonies, promoting their events on social media through the community Facebook, creating fun and exciting events like the mini-tradeshow at The Lot and participating at the Association’s meetings to discuss what our community needs to be, which is the best it can be!

I have been part of the Merchants Association since I opened my photography studio, J. Dixx Studios, about a year and a half ago and I attended the mini-tradeshow at The Lot where I was able to meet so many gracious neighboring businesses.

I absolutely love working with Sheila Fortune, CA and Deborah Marengo, and many of the other members. I would love to give a helping hand to the association.”

Billy Borja,

principal/owner, Orangetheory

Fitness, 7734 Girard Ave.

“My name is Billy Borja. I’ve been a La Jolla Business owner for 20 years and a resident in San Diego for nearly 40 years. I grew up surfing all throughout La Jolla.

Whether in the ocean, or through business, I have established many longstanding relationships in the community. I am a hard and dedicated laborer in my business, and in serving the community. My business has partnered with many of the local Non-For Profit organizations as well as helping to raise funds for the local schools in La Jolla.

I recently served as a board member of the LJVMA from October 2013 – October 2015. My time serving on the board was a great experience and one I would be ready to serve once again.

Today I am the operating partner for Orangetheory Fitness where we currently have two successful studios with our third projected to open in January 2017. I believe my work ethic and business experience can be a valuable asset as a board member of the LJVMA. I appreciate your consideration.”

Tiffany T. Philips,

broker, Harcourts Prestige

Properties, 7938 Ivanhoe Ave., St. A 

“I would love to be apart of shaping up La Jolla’s tomorrow. As a La Jolla business owner for five years, I have learned how important LJVMA is to our Village businesses to have like-minded people to work with when it comes to any new changes to our Jewel or simply to come up with new solutions. Thank you for your consideration.”

Mauricio G’arate,


7710 Fay Ave. 

No written statement submitted.

Lori Bolton,

owner, 18/8 Fine Men’s Salon,

7407 La Jolla Blvd.

“As the owner of a new business, 18/8 Fine Men’s Salons, located at the corner of La Jolla Boulevard and Marine Street, I have received much encouragement, insight and guidance from members of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association.

There seems to be a consensus among the Village merchants that our residents, both permanent and seasonal, are patronizing La Jolla businesses at lower than historical averages. I strongly believe this trend can, and will, be reversed.

I feel it is incumbent on the LJVMA to identify, through proactive, conversational surveys of our entire 92037 and Golden Triangle demographic constituency, how convenience, experiential quality, and the overall value of our Village Business Distirct is perceived.

As a board member, I would like to help resolve real and perceived deficiencies, and develop a modern PR strategy to leverage and promote our strengths. Together, we will reclaim our legendary prestige and panache. La Jolla…Crown Jewel of America’s Finest City”

Xochitl Cerda,

marketing, The Lot, 7611 Fay Ave.

“I have been with The Lot since it opened in September 2015 and part of its seamless integration into the neighborhood.

I have been in charge of organizing events that have brought families and friends together in multiple occasions, like the Super Bowl Sunday Party, The Oscars Party, Mother’s Day Brunch, La Jolla High School Fundraiser, Las Patronas Fundraiser, La Jolla Veterinary Hospital Fundraiser and many more.

As a future board member of the La Jolla Village Merchants Association, I will bring creative ideas to enrich the Village, attract more visitors, and promote the sense of community.”

Alisha Hawrylyszyn Frank,

owner, Fiercely Optimistic,

1110 Torrey Pines Road

“As a new resident and business owner in La Jolla, I have had the opportunity to observe the ebb and flow of this gem within a city over the past two years.

The La Jolla business community does not need to single out businesses to follow basic standards. Rather, we as a council need to find ways to uplift, inspire and encourage collaboration among local businesses. By bringing awareness and creating good public relations for one business, we increase the chance for another business to thrive.

We are all connected and, if we work together properly, it allows the community as a whole to grow in abundance. Community is very near and dear to my heart. I am a true activist for both human beings and animals alike and I have been an advocate for the needs and rights of all life all the way from my childhood home in Oxford, Mich. to the prestigious United Nations in New York City.

Additionally, my background in marketing gives me the know how to bring in quality consumers to the neighborhood. I believe, if elected, that I will bring a fresh perspective along with traditional values to the La Jolla Village Merchants Association.”

Krista H. Baroudi,

owner, The World Around You,

7660 Fay Ave., H822

“La Jolla is an extraordinary community. I have had the great privilege of growing up here, and spending my adult life as a business member in La Jolla.

Over the years, I have taken pride in belonging, and know many long-term businesses which maintain the same pride within the community. The Merchants Association has a very important role in helping the Village of La Jolla evolve and grow. 

They are here to support, not only the longstanding merchants and community, but to assist and welcome our newest businesses and interested merchants. I am greatly honored to have served on the La Jolla Merchants Association for the last four years.

I care deeply about the future of this community, and would appreciate the opportunity to retain a seat on this board. Thank you for your time and consideration.”  

Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
Comments are back! Simply post the comment (it'll complain about you failing the human test) then simply click on the captcha and then click "Post Comment" again. Comments are also welcome on our Facebook page.