La Mesa

LA MESA COUNCIL CANDIDATES OFFER DIFFERING VIEWS ON HOMELESSNESS, HOUSING, TRANSIT, BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT AND MORE

 

By Janis Russell

Hear audio of candidates' response on homelessness by clicking the orange link above

September 16, 2016 (La Mesa)-Last night, the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce hosted a forum for La Mesa City Council candidates at the La Mesa Community Center.  Councilmember Kristine Alessio and newcomer Colin Parent participated; Councilmember Ruth Sterling was unable to attend due to surgery on a broken arm.The candidates agreed on some issues, such as helping local businesses thrive, but offered divergent views on others, such as how to address homelessness and transit funding.

Mary England, President/CEO of the Chamber, welcomed attendees. Bill Hammett, a Chamber board member, was moderator for the forum.

Audio: 

LA MESA CANDIDATES’ FORUM SEPT. 28 ALSO INCLUDES KEY INITIATIVES AND ISSUES

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 16, 2016 (La Mesa) - The La Mesa First United Methodist Church will host a public forum for Mesa City Council candidates and important ballot initiatives.  The forum will be held on September 28th, with a candidates’ meet and greet at 6:30 and the forum beginning at 7 p.m.

DEAN DEFENDS FOUNDING MEMBERS OF NEW MERCHANTS GROUP

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 15,2016 (La Mesa) – After receiving a reader’s editorial and a call from another local businessperson critical of the new La Mesa Village Association (LMVA), which ECM recently profiled, ECM reached out to Aaron Dean, LMVA  Chair, to respond.

READER’S EDITORIAL: IS THE LMVA REALLY A FRESH START?





Regarding your article "new La Mesa Village Association has big ideas for revitalizing city's historic heart"

By Peter Carzis, Owner, Peter’s Gentlemen’s Apparel

Editor's note: Aaron Dean, chair of the new LMVA, spoke with ECM and provided his responses to concerns raised by Carzis and others.  You can read his remarks here.

October 14,2016 (La Mesa)--I attended the first meeting of this new group. They said they want this group to be a "fresh start" in the village, but yet they boast four Founding Members who are officers and directors of the "old" group that owes the taxpayers and the City of La Mesa $47,900.50.  (Per the city clerk, this amount was turned over to collection and none of the debt has been repaid as of today.)

HAVE YOU SEEN OUR NEWSLETTER?

 

September 2, 2016 (San Diego's East County) -- Our latest newsletter just came out --with all the hottest news and events impacting you in East County all in one single-page newsletter.  You can view the latest edition here.   

To get a free subscription to our weekly newsletter-- and also the option to get free wildfire and emergency alerts, click here

Tell your friends and family!

FROM POT SHOPS TO SCHOOL BONDS TO A BUILDER’S BONANZA: INITIATIVES ON EAST COUNTY BALLOTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 1,2016  (San Diego’s East County) – Beyond the blizzard of ballot measures statewide and candidates on your November ballot, East County voters will be asked to weigh in on a variety of local initiatives with big impacts.

Those include countywide measures:  one a tax to fund transportation, the other  a measure that would set a precedent for developers to  evade environmental reviews by taking projects directly to voters.   There are also medical marijuana dispensary measures on the ballots in Lemon Grove and La Mesa, a redistricting proposal in El Cajon, and school bond measures in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College, Grossmont Union High School, and Cajon Valley  Union school districts.  Here are details:

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW WITH COLIN PARENT: ATTORNEY, ENVIRONMENTALIST AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING ADVOCATE RUNS FOR LA MESA CITY COUNCIL

 

By Miriam Raftery

Hear our interview originally aired on on KNSJ Radio: Click the orange arrow above; scroll down to read highlights.

August 25,2016 (La Mesa) – Recently,  we  sat down for an in-depth interview with Colin Parent, a lawyer with extensive experience as an affordable housing expert in the Governor’s administration. Currently he’s the policy counsel/attorney for Circulate San Diego, an nonprofit that advocates for public transit, safe and pedestrian-friendly streets, safe routes to school, and smart growth issues.  He’s also cofounder of La Mesa Conversations, a civic discussion group.

Now he’s running for the La Mesa City Council in a three-way race for two seats currently held by incumbents Ruth Sterling and Kristine Alessio.

“I’m running to improve La Mesa,” says Parent, who calls La Mesa a great place, but adds that it can be even better.  Here are the ideas he discussed:

Audio: 

FILING DEADLINE EXTENDED TO WEDNESDAY IN THESE RACES WHERE INCUMBENTS ARE NOT SEEKING REELECTION

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 16,2016  (San Diego’s East County)—The deadline for candidates to file, submit signatures and run for local offices has been extended to 5 p.m. tomorrow in  races where incumbents  did not file ot seek reelection. This includes key city council and mayor races in East County, as well as many school boards and special districts such as fire and water boards,as well as community planning boards.

LA MESA COUNCIL REFUSES GRAND JURY REQUST TO CREATE CITIZENS’ POLICE OVERSIGHT BOARD, ACCEPTS RECOMMENDATIONS ON HOMELESSNESS

By Tasha Matthews

ECM Editor Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

August 4, 2016 (La Mesa)--Councilmember Guy McWhirter opened the La Mesa City Council meeting on Tuesday, July 26th by expressing concern for our country in the wake of recent shootings of police officers. He thanked police for their brave work helping to protect citizens—two days before two San Diego Police officers were shot, one fatally.

But the Council rejected a Grand Jury recommendation to create a police oversight board aimed at assuring that citizens’ rights are protected if officer misconduct is alleged. The Grand Jury made its recommendations to La Mesa and other local cities in a report on Citizens Oversight Boards of Police Behavior.

HELIX WATER BOARD VOTES 3-2 FOR 10.3% RATE HIKE WITHOUT PUBLIC HEARING: CANDIDATES BLAST INCUMBENTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 3, 2016 (La Mesa) – With scarcely any public notice, Helix Water Board passed a 10.3% rate hike by a slim one-vote majority. The stated reason was because water use has dropped due to customers conserving water--just as the district asked them to do.

Directors Kathleen Coates-Hedberg and Joel Scalziti voted against jacking up rates, while directors John Linden, Chuck Muse and Deana Verbeke voted for the rate hike over public objections.

JOIN US SUNDAY! ROARING ‘20S PARTY JULY 31 AT SAN PASQUAL WINE BAR IN LA MESA. COME PARTY WITH THE PRESS!

 

 

 

 

July 29, 2016 (La Mesa) – You’re invited to celebrate the era of Great Gatsby, flappers, gangsters, silent film stars, ragtime and jazz. Join East County Magazine at a benefit to support our nonprofit community reporting on Sunday, July 31 from 4-7 p.m. at the San Pasqual Wine Bar (8364 La Mesa Blvd.) in La Mesa--all to benefit our nonprofit reporting and wildfire alerts through East County Magazine.

Festivities include wine tasting, sparkling drinks  and Italian dinner plus dessert,  “All That Jazz” musical performance highlights,  live period music by the Classics, Douglas Fairbanks and Laurel & Hardy film clips, games, opportunity drawings and silent auction, games, surprises and more!

Space is very limited! RSVP by July 30 for discount rates and your “speakeasy” password!  619-698-7617 or editor@eastcountymagazine.org 

  • Live“All That Jazz” preview by singers/dancers from Visionary Dance Theatre plus  Laurel & Hardy and Douglas Fairbanks film clips;
  • Live music by the Classics
  • Toast the Prohibition Era with sparkling “bubbly” drinks ; relish a ‘20s style feast fit for Gatsby & guests, wine tasting, dinner & desserts by Tiramisu Trattoria, Swami’s & Little Roma that Al Capone would relish!
  • ‘Cocktail attire or 20s attire encouraged (flappers, film stars, gangsters, robber barons, etc.)
  • Opportunity drawings and silent auction; prizes and surprises!  Win a night on the town including steak dinner & “Chicago” theater tickets, Joe’s Crab Shack dinners, The Hills Pub and Lunchbox Cafe gift certificates, wine baskets, Hawaiian pearls, turquoise and coral jewelry, antiques, collectibles, elegant items, CDs, Julian Old Time Photos, T-shirts and more.

ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP URGES LA MESA RESIDENTS TO ATTEND MEETINGS ON CITY’S CLIMATE ACTION PLAN AUG. 15 AND SEPT. 19

 

Public input also sought Aug. 3 on community choice alternative for electric power

East County News Service

July 30, 2016 (La Mesa)—The City of La Mesa seeks public input on its draft Climate Action Plan.  Two public meetings are planned with the City’s Enviornmental Sustainability Commission at City Hall (8130 Allison Ave.) at 7 p.m. on August 16 and September 19. 

“These are great opportunities for you and your neighbors to help shape the Plan that will guide the City of La Mesa to a clean energy future over the next 20 years,”says Angela Deegan at San Diego 350.org,a nonprofit environmental group dedicated to stopping climate change…If you live in La Mesa, we need you to help provide input to ensure La Mesa adopts a strong, enforceable Climate Action Plan which includes a goal of 100% clean energy and which incentivizes renewable energy and local green jobs.”

WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN HOSTS FREE CUSTOMER APPRECIATON DAY JULY 31 FOR HELIX WATER AND SWEETWATER AUTHORITY RATEPAYERS

East County News Service

July 27, 2016 (Rancho San Diego) – The Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College will host a free Customer Appreciation Day for Helix Water and Sweetwater Authority customers on Sunday, July 31 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Discover different varieties of drought-tolerant plants, learn how to "Toss the Turf" and get inspiration on how to incorporate water-wise gardening into your own garden. Plus you can enjoy free activities including docent-led garden tours, tips on butterfly gardening, veggie growing,soils and native habitat, meet Ms. Smarty-Plants, watch a butterfly release, savor free shaved ice, and get discounts on gift shop items.  See full schedule of events below.

GROCERY STORE BOYCOTT BEGINS: STORES IN LA MESA AND SPRING VALLEY AMONG THOSE TARGETED

East County News Service

July 27, 2016 (San Diego)—A boycott of six Vons, Ralphs and Albertsons grocery store locations is underway starting this week, the United Food & Commercial Workers Union in San Diego has announced.  If no contract agreement is reached by August 8th,the union has voted to call a strike against all of the stores’ locations throughout southern California.

The boycott locations include two in East County:  the Vons store at 8011 University Ave. in La Mesa and the Albertsons at 9831 Campo Road in Spring Valley.

CANDIDATES CAN NOW FILE TO RUN FOR GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT TRUSTEE ELECTIONS; FILING DEADLINE IS AUGUST 12

No filing fees, ballot statement costs  $315 to $360 in smaller trustee districts

By Miriam Raftery

July 24, 2016 (San Diego’s East County ) – For the first time, the Grossmont Union High School District will hold elections in November for individual trustee districts.   There are no filing fees, though modest fees are charged for candidates to publish ballot statements. With smaller districts, the cost for ballot statements is far less than in the past --just $315 in Trustee Area 1 (Lemon Grove/Spring Valley/La Prensa),which is an open seat, and $360 in Trustee Area 2 (La Mesa/Casa de Oro/Mt. Helix and part of Rancho San Diego) currently represented by Jim Stieringer.

The candidate filing period opened July 18 and closes August 12th.  August 12 is also the deadline for candidates to submit ballot statements, which for the first time will be accepted electronically.

HEALTH CARE LIBRARY IN LA MESA WILL HIGHLIGHT MEALS ON WHEELS PROGRAM FOR ELDERLY

 

East County News Service

 

July 20, 2016 (La Mesa) – The Grossmont Healthcare District’s Dr. William C. Herrick Community Health Care Library, 9001 Wakarusa St. in La Mesa, will host “More than a Meal,” a free presentation about Meals on Wheels San Diego County, from 10 to 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 27. The program is part of the library’s Wellness Wednesday series, normally held on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Admission is free. Light refreshments will be served. Advance RSVP is not necessary. Speaking will be Brian Midkiff, community outreach coordinator with Meals on Wheels San Diego County, a community nonprofit organization. 

MASS CASUALTY/ACTIVE SHOOTER TRAINING IN LA MESA THIS THURSDAY

 

Source: Heartland Fire Press Release

July 18, 2016 (La Mesa) - On Thursday July 21st at 9:45 a.m., Heartland Fire & Rescue in partnership with La Mesa Police Department and allied agencies, will be conducting our annual Mass Casualty Incident training. The training will include an Active Shooter element. This training allows Law Enforcement and Fire Department personnel to work together in the event of an actual active shooter, like what we have recently seen in Dallas, Texas and San Bernardino, California. To make this training more realistic, we will have live actors in moulage, simulating injuries that we would encounter in this type of emergency.

READER'S EDITORIAL: SMOKE-FREE OUTDOOR DINING--GOOD FOR HEALTH, GOOD FOR BUSINESS

Click here for a list of La Mesa smoke-free restaurants.

By Dani Womack

Pastor Dani Womack is the Community Life Pastor at Crosspointe Life Church and Chairperson of the La Mesa Collaborative.

July 11, 2016 (La Mesa)--Summer is finally here and what better place to enjoy being outdoors than San Diego County! La Mesa has invested millions to renovate their Downtown Village, putting a priority on outdoor seating in public spaces and local restaurants have joined in by growing their outdoor dining patios. Many cities throughout San Diego County and the state have passed local laws restricting smoking in outdoor areas such as parks, beaches, farmer’s markets, and outdoor dining patios.

MOUNTAIN LIONS SPOTTED ON MT. HELIX

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 8, 2016 (Mt. Helix) – Two mountain lions have been reported Monday by a homeowner on Mt. Helix.  La Mesa Today sent an alert warning the lions were seen  off Lemon Avenue in the Lake Helix area.  A CBS 8 news story ran two photos taken by the homeowner in unincorporated  La Mesa and footage of the location outside the home. 

The homeowner, who asked to stay anonymous, said the lions were on a hillside above a pool where her children were playing and two large dogs were present.

A long-time La Mesa resident  posted on a residents’ online forum that through the years he has previously seen mountain lions in the Boulder Hills area of La Mesa near Chevy Chase, above the La Mesa Village. 

HOPE FOR IRAQI CHRISTIANS SEEKS MATCHING FUNDS BY JULY 4 TO HELP 200 REFUGEE FAMILIES: ADOPT A FAMILY FOR JUST $1 A DAY

 

East County News Service

June 25, 2016 (La Mesa)—Hope for Iraqi Christians, a La Mesa based organization that assists Iraqi Christian refugees fleeing genocide in the Middle East, has received a pledge from the  Anahid Oram Memorial Refugee Fund to match $10,000 in monthly donations, sponsoring 100 families per month, but only if they can secure sponsors for at least 100 families by July 4. If that goal is met, the matching funds will mean that 200 families will be helped.

You can sponsor a family for as little as  $1 a day. Each donor will receive information on the family adopted.  Smaller donations will be pooled to help reach the total. Or consider adopting multiple families.

LA MESA GREAT-GRANDMOTHER WINS CAR ON PRICE IS RIGHT

East County News Service

Video credit:  Fremantle Media North America

June 27, 2016 (La Mesa) – Ellen "Gigi" Draper from La Mesa won a car on the Price is Right earlier this month. She and her husband, Robert “Bob” Draper went to Los Angeles the night before in order to be first in line in hopes of being picked by host Drew Carey.

“I had on an orange shirt and it says, `HI Drew, I need help. Married 58 years to Pop Pop, Mother of four boys and 1 girl, grandmother of 18 and great-grandmother of 15. I need a vacation – Gigi.”

HIT AND RUN DRIVER SOUGHT IN LA MESA

 

East County News Service

June 24, 2016 (La Mesa) — California Highway Patrol seeks public help to locate a black pickup truck with a male driver that struck and injured a motorcyclist early this morning.  The accident occurred at 3:12 a.m. on westbound Interstate 8 just west of the Jackson Drive exit, said CHP Officer Kevin Pearlstein.

BUTLER’S COFFEE HOUSE GRAND OPENING IN SPRING VALLEY JUNE 25TH

 

East County News Service

June 23, 2016 (Casa de Oro) -- On Saturday June 25th, Butler’s Coffee House invites you to celebrate their grand opening. The event includes coffee, food, and live music. The ribbon cutting will start at 10:30 a.m. and includes a flag ceremony at 11:00 a.m.

LA MESA LION’S CLUB ‘S FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT RECALLS DECADES OF SERVICE TO COMMUNITY

 

By Chisato Iversen

June 22, 2016 (La Mesa) -- From helping the blind to supporting Meals on Wheels and Toys for Tots, the La Mesa Lions Club has long been a driving force to help local people in need.  East County Magazine sat down for an exclusive interview with Marge Dyke, former La Mesa Lion’s Club president.

LA MESA SIGNS COMMEMORATE 2013 FREEWAY SHOOTING VICTIM XUSHA BROWN: $100,000 REWARD OFFERED

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 21, 2016 (La Mesa) – Freeway memorial signs commemorating murder victim and Sycuan tribal member Xusha Brown Jr. were unveiled today at the La Mesa Police Department.  Brown was shot and killed while in a vehicle on Interstate 8 in La Mesa in the early morning on May 5, 2013.  The driver of the Nissan Maxima, Malcolm Hune, was also injured.

OUR BOHEMIAN BASH IS SATURDAY! AMAZING ENTERTAINMENT & FOOD, THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS IN PRIZES AT OUR SIZZLING SUMMER SOLSTICE CELEBRATION

Emergency SOS!  KNSJ, which has the emergency broadcast network for East County, is off the air due to vandals. Help us get KNSJ back on the air -- and also support East County Magazine!

SATURDAY, JUNE 18:  4 to 7 p.m.

Don't miss our summer solstice celebration of artists, authors, musicians, and thinkers will support East County Magazine and KNSJ, nonprofit media in the public interest.

Performers include: Fabio Rojas playing Latin music, comedians Benji Garcia  Karl Weiss, classical Indian dance by Nilanjana, dancer Gargi Chttopadhyaya, Indian drummers Sai Payan and Dijan Ashtianti, novelist Scott Sigler, and hip-hop by Poalypse Gotadajuice.

Savor delicious foods and libations! Plus win fabulous prizes in our opportunity drawings and silent auction, includnig Julian carriage rides, harbor cruises, dinners, dance classes, designer hand-crafted jewelry(coral/turquoise/shells and hand-painted stone), wine lovers baskets, boutique gift certificates, original art "Neptune's Capture" by Denver Native American artist Michaela Beavers, museum-quality Central AmericanMata Ortiz pottery, music CDs, books, gallery framing, butterfly kite, restaurant and cafe gift certificates,  yoga lessons, bakery basket of goodies, old time photography shoot, antiques, Fiesta basket, yoga lessons,and more!

Open to East County Magazine subscribers (subscribe free at the top right side of our homepage), KNSJ members, and invited guests. 

RSVP today for early bird rates: ($19, or $17 each with purchase of two tickets, groups of 6 or more $13 each.)   At the door: $22.  Call 619-698-7617 or email editor@eastcountymagazine.org to RSVP.

PARALLELS FROM THE PAST: EXHIBIT ON INTERNMENT OF LOCAL JAPANESE-AMERICAN STUDENTS IN WWII EVOKES FEARS “IT COULD HAPPEN AGAIN,” SAYS HISTORIAN

 

By Chisato Iverson and Miriam Raftery

 

June 16, 2016 (La Mesa) –For Donna Neimeier at the La Mesa Historical Society, preparing an exhibit on Grossmont High School students forced into internment camps during World War II provided troubling memories from her own childhood.

“I was in first or second grade when all of this happened. I knew that my Japanese friends were gone…We didn’t know where they went,” she recalled.  After  her friends returned, she recalls, “They were very withdrawn and they never talked about it..”

Now she reflects, “Here I am, 75 years later, learning about this whole thing…I think with prejudice and the way we all feel about prejudice now, it’s something that is very upsetting to me personally, that it happened.”   The most important reason for the museum’s exhibit, she believes, is to teach people about the past, in hopes that it will never be repeated.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: GRACE KAMINAKA TSUIDA, JAPANESE INTERNMENT CAMP SURVIVOR FROM GROSSMONT HIGH SCHOOL

 

By Chisato Iversen

 

June 15, 2016 (La Mesa)-- Grace Kaminaka Tsuida, a student at Grossmont High School’s class of 1944, is a survivor of a Japanese-American internment camp during World War II.  As part of an AP class project at Grossmont High School , students documented the experiences of Grossmont students who were interned.  Their stories are documented in  Japanese American AP US American Reports  and can be seen in a special exhibit at the La Mesa Historical Society during June. 

Grace Kaminaka Tsuida  was born  Sept. 9,1926 in Lemon Grove. She made friends easily, like other children, until after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, when the U.S. government sent her family and others to an internment camp.  After their release, they were given an apology from the government, though it failed to acknowledge the humiliation and confusion they experience.  Now, 67 years later, Grace’s niece, Judy Miyamoto, helped arrange for Grace to finally receive her Grossmont High School Diploma.

Now 90 years old, Grace granted an exclusive interview with East County Magazine.   Please read her compelling story.

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