Town Council Meeting Sees Revival of Efforts to Make La Jolla an Independent City

May 25, 2022

The La Jolla Town Council recently held a forum on a potential revival of efforts to make the neighborhood of La Jolla an independent city.

Council-members took questions both online and at the La Jolla Recreation Center on May 12, the La Jolla Light reported. However, the town hall meeting is not the first discussion residents have had about incorporating La Jolla.

Previous efforts to make La Jolla an independent city have gone so far as to contract with economic firms to analyze the fiscal situation that incorporation would bring. However, those efforts fell through and the fiscal analysis never occurred.

At the La Jolla meeting on May 12, former Town Council president Ann Kerr Bache said that “economically, La Jolla could survive” being independent from San Diego, citing a 2015 study.

San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission Executive Officer Keene Simonds encouraged La Jollans to look into independence.
(Elisabeth Frausto) – Image courtesy of La Jolla Light

“We can do much better for the region of San Diego if we’re on our own,” said local architect Trace Wilson. “We want to make the coastline and our Village the best it can be.”

However, there could be some hurdles to overcome before the City of La Jolla happens. For example, Town Council government liaison Cody Petterson says that it would be easier to incorporate from the unincorporated county instead of seceding from an existing city.

Additionally, a dual majority vote rule requires that a majority of both La Jolla residents and San Diegans vote to approve the detachment.

La Jolla could also owe up to $4.6 million in annual mitigation payments to San Diego, a 2005 study found. It could take as long as three years before La Jolla could neutralize the effects of secession.

Local resident Melinda Merryweather says that the independence movement isn’t trying to “take La Jolla out of here on a helicopter.” Instead, they’re only attempting to “improve La Jolla for everybody and for everybody that comes here.”

The process, which some at the council meeting encouraged, could take two to four years and would need to involve both more fiscal analysis and convincing the rest of San Diego that it’s a good idea.

About the author: Mike Peterson is a freelance journalist and writer based in North San Diego County. He’s written and worked for a number of local media outlets, including the San Diego Union-Tribune, the North Coast Current, and the Oceanside Blade.