Joe LaCava, chairman of the Community Planners Committee, invited community members to attend the La Jolla Community Planning Association’s (LJCPA) Oct. 4 meeting to discuss La Jolla’s priorities in the city budget.
Typically, the city’s budget is released in mid-April each year, giving the community a mere two months to analyze and comment on its contents.
“There has been criticism for some time that that is not an appropriate or adequate amount of time for the public to really participate in setting the annual city budget,” said LaCava. “This year, the mayor’s office has said, ‘Let’s do public input before we start working in earnest on the budget starting in about December.’”
The city’s 43 community planning groups, including LJCPA, will serve as forums for public outreach on budget priorities for Capital Improvement Project funds.
LaCava said there is a steep learning curve for everyone to understand — including how the city budget and funding mechanisms work, how to best create a process for public outreach, and how to come to a consensus as a community and submit priorities to the city — all which will take time.
“The other reality we all know is that the city doesn’t have a lot of money,” he said.
“This is a good opportunity for us to create a process and go through the steep learning curve this year, so that next year when the city’s finances and the economy is better, hopefully, and we start getting into the bond market, then we will have money we can talk about and have a serious conversation.”
Despite the hard work ahead, LaCava stressed the importance of creating a working process this year in order to successfully execute projects deemed important by the community in the future.
“It’s a real opportunity for people to get involved and have a voice,” he said. “We want to reach out to all members of La Jolla to have that conversation. We all have a stake in this.”
The LJCPA will discuss the process and take public input at its Oct. 4 meeting, which will take place at the La Jolla Recreation Center at 6 p.m.
Town council news
• Recently appointed executive board members Cindy Greatrex, Yolanda de Riquer, Sonia Olivas, Steve Haskins and Peter Wulff were sworn in by District 1 City Councilwoman Sherri Lightner. Greatrex will serve as president, de Riquer as treasurer, Olivas as secretary, Haskins as vice president and Wulff as second vice president.
• The Town Council has four trustee vacancies, which are open to the public. To express interest in candidacy, contact the council’s office at (858) 454-1444 or email email@example.com.
• The next SunSetter happy hour will take place at Alfonso’s, 1251 Prospect St., on Sept. 20 from 5 to 7 p.m.
City and state news
• Prospective voters can now register to vote online in California, announced state Sen. Christine Kehoe’s representative, Katelyn Hailey.
“This is a really great resource that we’ve really been trying to get the ball rolling on for a while now,” she said.
• The design of Children’s Pool lifeguard tower is nearly complete, announced Lightner. Demolition of the existing tower is expected to begin this fall before the start of the seals’ pupping season on Dec. 15.
• The Planning Commission’s hearing on the city’s proposal for a year-round rope barrier at the Children’s Pool beach, which was originally slated for Aug. 30, has been postponed until Sept. 27 due to a notification error.
• Lightner’s office continues to work closely with the Save Our La Jolla Post Office Task Force to enable the community to have first right of refusal to purchase the Wall Street post office should the building be put up for sale.
• Since 2009, the city has received $1.2 million in grants and funding for the Torrey Pines Corridor project. Approximately $280,000 has been spent on the preliminary design for the entire project, leaving the city with nearly $1 million to begin working on one of the major objectives of the project — the improvement of pedestrian safety.
“We’re going to move forward on certain things that the community approved, which is the north side of Torrey Pines Road to remove all the ob-structions for ADA, fix the curb ramps, get a sidewalk from Roseland to Calle Juela on the south side and also have the slope across from Little Street stabilized and landscaped,” said Lightner.
Construction is expected to begin late next year. Complete funding for the approximately $26 million project remains outstanding.
• A stormwater-diversion project will begin on Torrey Pines Road near Amalfi Street, Princess Street and Coast Walk in the next few weeks. The road will be narrowed during construction, but both lanes will remain open.
• La Jolla Village Merchants Association (LJVMA) and LJTC member Egon Kafka, along with his partner Maureen Murphy, offered to finance the hanging flower basket program for one month until a landscape company can take over the upkeep of the 1,000 flowers planted in hanging baskets throughout the village.
• The Planned District Ordinance (PDO) Committee sent a letter to the city asking that all projects that deal with the La Jolla PDO be sent to the subcommittee for review.
“Some of these projects are very significant and the changes have major impacts to La Jolla, but they are not being addressed by our group,” said Dershowitz. “We just think the city should not be approving projects without our input, and that is what’s going on … It’s a matter of the city working with us. They’ve made approvals sometimes without any input, and we don’t necessarily agree with them.”
• The council approved the fourth annual La Jolla Art and Wine Festival, which will take place on Oct. 13 and 14 on lower Girard Avenue. It will feature 150 artist booths, merchant booths, a wine and beer garden, roving entertainment and an auction to raise funds for four local schools.