La Mesa/Mt. Helix

WELCOME, LA MESANS!

Our La Mesa section covers the communities of La Mesa and Mount Helix.  Click here to read some fascinating facts about La Mesa and Mt. Helix.  Click here for links to city services, activities, shopping, business groups, farmers’ market,  schools, library, hospital, service groups, theaters, transportation, utilities, weather and more in La Mesa.


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LA MESA HOLDS SPECIAL HEARING TODAY ON PROP L SALES TAX RENEWAL SURVEY

By Miriam Raftery

Chart, left, prepared by city staff, shows general fund forecast for next 10 years if Prop L is extended.

April 23, 2024 (La Mesa)—The La Mesa City Council will hold a special meeting at 4 p.m. today to review and discuss the Proposition L renewal survey results.  Prop L, the ¾ cent sales tax increase approved by voters in 2008, is set to sunset in 2029, unless a measure to extend it is put before voters and approved.  Prop L revenues currently account for 20% of the city’s general fund revenues.

The announcement of a special meeting comes after a letter sent April 17 by former Mayor Art Madrid to the current Mayor, City Council, and City Manager urging action.


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JOIN US MAY 8 FOR A FESTIVE FEAST! EAST COUNTY DINING CLUB AT LEMON GROVE BISTRO

RSVP by May 1 to reserve space

You’re  invited to our next East County Dining Club event! This event benefits East County Magazine and our East County Wildfire & Emergency alerts. Everyone is welcome to attend our event at this popular new eatery founded by chefs with international experience!

When: Wednesday, May 8 at 6:30 p.m.

Where:  Lemon Grove Bistro & Beer Garden, 3308 Main St., Lemon Grove


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LA MESA CITY COUNCIL GRAPPLES WITH FREE SPEECH, HATE AND INTIMIDATION

Council supports state bill making distribution of hate flyers on private property a civil rights violation, retains controversial ban on remote public comments
 
By Michael Howard
 
Photo: Vice Mayor Laura Lothian discusses State Assembly Bill 3024 during April 9 La Mesa City Council Meeting. 
 
April 14, 2024 (La Mesa, CA) – The La Mesa City Council continues to grapple with a balance between free speech protected by the U.S. Constitution and hate speech that just doesn’t seem to go away.
 
In its latest action, the Council voted 4-1 on Tuesday to adopt a resolution to support state bill AB 3024, the Stop Hate Littering Act, introduced by Assemblymember Chris Ward.
 
That bill adds language to section 51.7 of the current California State Civil Code to further define “intimidation by threat of violence” to include “distribution of hateful materials on private property of another without authorization for the purpose of terrorizing the owner or occupant of that private property or in reckless disregard of the risk of terrorizing the owner or occupant of that private property.”


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CELEBRATING 6 YEARS OF QUICK, ACCESSIBLE, HIGH-QUALITY CARE

By Sharp HealthCare
 
Photo: (L to R) Denise Ricci, Misty Skeen and Beatriz Chapman, who have all been with the Sharp Grossmont Care Clinic since it opened in 2018
 
April 11, 2024 (La Mesa) -- Misty Skeen was so sure she wanted a career in health care that she started volunteering in her local hospital’s emergency department when she was just 14 years old. Now, as a longtime Sharp employee and a lead nurse of the Sharp Grossmont Hospital Care Clinic, she says she wouldn’t change a thing.
 
“I was very passionate about nursing as a profession and health care in general,” says Skeen, who continued volunteering throughout her time in nursing school. “I thought nursing would really suit me because I like interacting with patients and families and having the time to help educate them while we form that personal connection.”
 
The Care Clinic, which serves patients with urgent, non-life-threatening medical needs, opened its doors at Sharp Grossmont Hospital in April 2018. Skeen, who has been with the clinic from the beginning, says her favorite thing about their work is that they make a positive impact on the community every day.

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KIDZ DANZ KOMPANY PRESENTS 30TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW "COLORS"

East County News Service
 
April 10, 2024 (La Mesa) -- The critically-acclaimed and award-winning Kidz Danz Kompany, San Diego’s premier children’s dance company, presents “Colors”, KDK’s 30th Anniversary show, at the MP Dance Performance Space (8674 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA 91942) on April 19-27, 2024 @ 7pm.

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LA MESA ACTIVATES FIRST HAWK SIGNAL IN CITY TO PROTECT PEDESTRIANS

Source: City of La Mesa
 
April 9, 2024 (La Mesa) – The City of La Mesa installed its first High-Intensity Activated CrossWalk (HAWK) signal at the intersection of Jessie Avenue and El Cajon Boulevard in an effort to enhance pedestrian safety.

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LA MESA POLICE INVESTIGATE SHOOTING DEATH OF MAN IN PARKED CAR

Update April 11, 2024 --The victim has been identified as Roderick Stroman, 42, of San Diego.
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
April 8, 2024 (La Mesa) – Responding to a call reporting a gunshot yesterday morning around 12:35 a.m., La Mesa Police officers found a black sedan parked in the 7100 block of Waite Drive with a shattered driver’s side window. They found an unresponsive man in the driver’s seat with a gunshot wound to his upper torso.

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JEWELRY STORE SMASH-AND-GRAB SUSPECT ARRESTED IN LA MESA

East County News Service
 
April 8, 2024 (La Mesa) — Surveillance video helped La Mesa Police identify and arrest a suspect accused of a smash-and-grab robbery at a jewelry store in Grossmont Center.
 
The robbery occurred on April 5 around 10:50 a.m. A witness inside the store called 911 to report that a man used a hammer to smash a glass display case and snatch up several expensive watches, as an employee fled to the back of the store in fear for her safety.

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READER’S EDITORIAL: LA MESA OFFICIALS NEED TO DENOUNCE HATE SPEECH, NOT OUTLAW ALL CALLERS DURING PUBLIC MEETINGS

An Open Letter to La Mesa’s Mayor, City Council, City Attorney and City Manager 
 
By Art Madrid, former La Mesa Mayor
 
April 3, 2024 (La Mesa) -- Recently, various racist comments and incidents occurred in two different communities resulting in blatantly, dissimilar outcomes. Coeur d’Alene, and La Mesa were the cities at center stage.  
 
In Coeur d’Alene, the mayor, council, and business community immediately defended the values and standards of their community by condemned the racists who directed their offensive remarks at an ethnically diverse women’s basketball team.   

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GROSSMONT HIGH SCHOOL BOARD SLASHES STAFFING, OVER OBJECTIONS OF VOCAL CROWD

By Kirsten Andelman

Photo, left to right:  student rep Elizabeth Fox;  trustees Elva Salinas,  Chris Fite, Jim Kelly, Gary Woods, and Robert Shield

March 26, 2024 (El Cajon) --The Grossmont Union High School District Board voted 3-2 earlier this month to issue Reduction in Force notices for 91 full-time staff positions, after about 81 employees received district letters last week warning of looming “pink slips” for the next school year.

Board leaders blamed the state of California for mandating notice of the cuts by a March 15 deadline, as leaders in Sacramento brace for a looming budget deficit of over $31 billion dollars for the 2024/2025 fiscal year.

Of the eliminated positions, 53 were “certificated” and/or teacher positions, and 38 were “classified” positions. 


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VIEW OUR INTERVIEW: LA MESA ACTIVISTS OBJECT TO CITY COUNCIL BANNING REMOTE PARTICIPATION

 

View video of interview, which also aired on KNSJ radio: https://youtu.be/6CG6xMtEY8U

March 25, 2024 (La Mesa) East County Magazine recently interviewed La Mesa activists Janet Castaños, PhD, and Gene Carpenter, who raise concerns over La Mesa City Council’s Feb. 27 decision to end remote public comments.  The action came after anti-Semitic comments were made by several callers at the previous meeting, though the city’s stated reason for ending the public’s ability to call in with comments was that the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Castaños calls the vote a “knee jerk” reaction without public input.  “We had built greater community activity, greater engagement in our City Council with our Zoom and call-in options,” noting that people who were sick or had childcare issues could call in from home.  She objects to the decision made “without even taking the time to look at a variety of options that are used by the City of San Diego City  Council or the Board of Supervisors...”

“It affects all boards and commissions for the city of La Mesa...You have to physically be there if you want to make a comment on anything on the agenda,” she added.

Audio: 


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LA MESA LAUNCHES ANNUAL SLURRY PROJECT

Source: City of La Mesa
 
Slurry project is set to resurface 51 streets
 
March 21, 2024 (La Mesa) -- Starting this week, the City of La Mesa will begin the process of repairing and sealing approximately 2.65 million square feet of roads around the city. They say this project highlights their ongoing efforts to maintain and enhance La Mesa's infrastructure.

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SHARP-COLLINS SURPASSES VASQUEZ IN 79TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Dr. LaShae Sharp-Collins
 
March 16, 2024 (San Diego’s East County) – The 79th Assembly district race is still too close to call.  While La Mesa Councilman Colin Parent is still solidly in first place with 39.65% of the vote (21,745 votes). Educator Dr. LaShae Sharp-Collins has overtaken Lemon Grove Mayor Racquel Vasquez to move into second place.
 
Currently Sharp-Collins has 30.27% (16,597 votes), while Vasquez has 30.08% (16,494 votes).

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EARTH DAY 2024 FAIR IN LA MESA

By Jonathan Goetz
 
March 16, 2024 (La Mesa) -- The City of La Mesa is inviting residents, visitors, sponsors and vendors to join its family-friendly Earth Day Fair on Saturday, April 20, 2024, at MacArthur Park, 4900 Memorial Drive, La Mesa CA 91942. The festival is a celebration of the city’s commitment to environmental stewardship and a showcase of local businesses that offer eco-friendly products and services.


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LA MESA CITY ADDRESS SHOWS BRIGHT DAYS AHEAD FOR JEWEL OF THE HILLS

By Jessyka Heredia

Watch Video Here

March 7, 2024 (La Mesa) – Dr. Mark Arapostathis, Mayor of La Mesa, gave a State of the City address in February that spoke of progress in processes at City Hall, growth in housing and business opportunities, as well as community engagement such as new park facilities and festive events all year round.


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LA MESA WOMAN DROWNED IN LAKE HAVASU

East County News Service

Photo via Cynthia Marin's Facebook page

March 12, 2024 (Mohave County, Arizona) -- A  La Mesa woman jumped off a boat to go swimming in Lake Havasu, AZ Sunday afternoon when according to the Mohave County Sheriff’s office. “Her improperly secured life jacket came off. The victim began to panic, then went below the surface of the water.”

A Sheriff’s dive team, aided by side scan sonar technology, found the victim at a depth of 42 feet in chilly 59 degree water. She has been identified as Cynthia Marin, 49, of La Mesa.


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GROSSMONT UNION DISTRICT BOARD SET TO CONSIDER CUTTING DOZENS OF JOBS

By Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
 
A school bus at Grossmont High School. Photo by Chris Stone, Times of San Diego
 
March 11, 2024 (El Cajon) -- An East County school board will consider two items Tuesday that could lead to the elimination of teaching, administrative and classified positions.
 
Eighty-six jobs are on the line, according to two human resources items on the agenda for the Grossmont Union High School District.

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HAYES OVERTAKES JUZA IN 75TH ASSEMBLY RACE; 79TH DISTRICT NARROWS TO SLIM 183-VOTE MARGIN IN RACE FOR RUNOFF SLOTS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Andrew Hayes has moved into 2nd place in 75th Assembly district; LaShae Sharp-Collins has pulled within 183 votes of Racquel Vasquez in the 79th district

March 9, 2024 (San Diego’s East County) – Latest election results released at 5 p.m. this evening show results have flipped in the Assembly district 75—with two Republicans now in the first and second place positions poised to run-off in November, if these positions hold.

Andrew Hayes, a  Lakeside school board member and long-time aide to Senator Brian Jones and Supervisor Joel Anderson, has narrowly pulled ahead of Democrat Kevin Juza, a business consultant. Carl DeMaio, founder of Reform California and conservative talk radio host, remains in first place. Currently DeMaio has 43.21%, Hayes 18.65% and Juza 18.18%. With just 555 votes separating Hayes and Juza, however, this race is still too close to call.  Three lesser-known candidates are trailing far behind.

The race has also tightened in the 79th Assembly District, where three Democrats are vying for the two top slots to advance to the November general election.


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VASQUEZ AND PARENT SPEAK OUT AS EARLY RESULTS SHOW THEM LIKELY HEADED TO RUN-OFF FOR ASSEMBLY RACE

By Jessyka Heredia and Miriam Raftery 

March 6, 2024 (San Diego’s East County) -- La Mesa Councilman Colin Parent and Lemon Grove Mayor Racquel Vasquez are maintaining their first and and second place positions in the primary race for the 79th Assembly district seat. If their leads hold, the two East County elected official will run-off in the November general election, leaving their current council and mayoral positions to be filled in the November election, since both have terms of office ending after this year.

As of 11:30 p.m. on Election night, Parent has 41.01%, Vasquez 31.53% and Dr. LaShae Sharp-Collins, County Office of Education’s community engagement specialist and adjunct professor at SDSU trails close behind with 27.43%. 

As last night’s Lemon Grove City Council meeting adjourned, ECM’s  reporter approached the dais to let Vasquez know she was number two in the early voting numbers so far and asked if she would like to give a statement.


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LA MESA BANS PUBLIC REMOTE COMMENTS AFTER ANTI-SEMITIC RANTS; OTHER CITY COUNCILS AROUND NATION POINT TO AI GENERATED ASSAULT


By Michael Howard

 

Screenshot from City Council video: La Mesa City Attorney Gleen Sabine advises Council on free speech rights

 

March 3, 2024 (La Mesa, CA) - The La Mesa City Council in its February 27 meeting voted 4-1 to ban remote public comments moving forward, with Councilman Jack Shu casting the dissenting vote.


The agenda item cites a memo by City Clerk Megan Wiegelman that suggested “in the aftermath of COVID, remote public comment is no longer necessary.” But the move to disallow call-in and Zoom public comments during City Council meetings seems to be in response to theFebruary 13 Council meeting, in which several remote participants listed Jewish government officials and unleashed a barrage of anti-Semetic speech. 


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FREEWAY SHOOTING IN LA MESA: SUSPECT IN BLACK FORD FUSION SOUGHT

East County News Service

March 4, 2024 (La Mesa)—California Highway Patrol is seeking a black Ford Fusion sedan driven by a black man suspected of shooting and injuring a motorist on I-8 in La Mesa yesterday afternoon.

The injured motorist, an El Cajon man, was driving a red Chrysler PT Cruiser westbound on Interstate 8, just east of Grossmont Blvd. California Highway Patrol responded to reports of the shooting around 3:35 p.m.


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KIDZ DANZ KOMPANY CELEBRATES 30 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE

By Jonathan Goetz

 

March 4, 2024 (La Mesa) -- Kidz Danz Kompany is San Diego’s premier children’s dance company, offering professional dance training in ballet and modern dance in their La Mesa studio, as well as performing 2+ concerts a year. This April, Kidz Danz Kompany is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a medley performance that follows the group through the ages in some timeless classics. 


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4TH FRIDAY COMEDY AT SPACEBAR CAFE AND WINE BISTRO

By Jonathan Goetz

February 19, 2024 (La Mesa) -- Comedians Gene Levin and Carol Johnson are the dynamic duo behind the 4th Friday Comedy show, held every month at SpaceBar Cafe & Wine Bistro. This delightful event has become one of the longest-running free comedy shows in our region, drawing laughter-loving audiences from near and far.

Event Details:

Venue: SpaceBar Cafe & Wine Bistro

Address: 7454 University Avenue, Suite A, La Mesa, CA 91942

Date: February 23, 2024

Time: 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM


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LA MESA SEEKS ARTISTS FOR WALKWAY OF THE STARS: DEADLINE MARCH 8

East County News Service

February 19, 2024 (La Mesa) -- The City of La Mesa is seeking proposals for the La Mesa “Walkway of the Stars” Mural Project in downtown La Mesa. The “Walkway of the Stars” is a pedestrian walkway located between the Allison Avenue municipal parking lot and La Mesa Boulevard that was transformed into an urban park in downtown La Mesa in 2003.

The walkway features decorative stone stars with the names of volunteers who have given 10,000 hours or more of service to the City of La Mesa and eight (8) community murals painted in 2003 depicting volunteerism in the City. This project will create up to eight new murals along the walls of the walkway. 


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ANTISEMETIC CALLERS OVERWHELM LA MESA CITY COUNCIL MEETING WITH HATE SPEECH

By JW August, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
 
Photo: Courtesy of City of La Mesa
 
February 16, 2024 (La Mesa) -- What began as a typical La Mesa City Council meeting this week to weigh local issues morphed into an antisemitic diatribe by largely anonymous white-supremacist callers.
 
Words turned ugly during the council’s public comment period on Tuesday when a series of callers, each held to a council-mandated three-minute limit per speaker, used their allotted time to debase and degrade Jews with callous accusations and conspiracy theories.

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COLLIER PARK REOPENING THIS SATURDAY FEBRUARY 10

East County News Service

February 7, 2024 (La Mesa) -- The Collier Park renovation is almost complete with the reopening/ribbon cutting celebration on February 10, 2024!

Join the City of La Mesa for interactive activities, presentations, and resources while you enjoy the new park, playground, fitness equipment, walking trails, courts, and more.


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CUPID IS STUPID IN LA MESA: VALENTINE'S DAY

By Jonathan Goetz

February 5, 2024 (La Mesa) – Need a laugh with a cause for Valentine’s Day? La Mesa’s Journey Community Church hosts their 9th annual night of clean comedy Wednesday, February 14 at 7 p.m. to benefit their Local Impact efforts. Doors open at 6:30. The show will be hosted by Josh Lawson featuring comedians Collin Moulton and Kellen Erskine. Tickets are $24 per person.

Childcare is provided as a fundraiser for their Summer Camps by their High School group, and is $15 per child, including dinner, with sibling discounts. Please RSVP for childcare with ticket purchase.


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SDSU TRACK & FIELD SIGNS HELIX'S LARAIGH ALLEN

Source:  goaztecs.com

Photo courtesy goaztecs.com

February 1, 2024 (La Mesa) -  San Diego State track and field has signed high school senior Laraigh Allen for next year, head coach Shelia Burrell announced on Wednesday.


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MASTIFF KITCHEN; SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST SAUSAGE

By Jessyka Heredia

 

January 24, 2023 (La Mesa) – Mastiff kitchen in La Mesa is serving up homemade sausages that will really knock your socks off, but their menu has so much more to offer, so you might want to share family style. From crispy pan pizza’s and burgers to Brussel sprouts, you won’t be disappointed.


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