La Mesa City Council

ON THE AGENDA: LA MESA CITY COUNCIL

Rooftop solar rules and objections to SANDAG “San Diego Forward” EIR are among key topics

East County News Service

July 11, 2015 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa City Council will meet Tuesday, July 14 at 6:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers.

Items of interest on the agenda include an ordinance to streamline rooftop solar applications, traffic calming measures proposed for Harbinson Avenue,  and a letter to SANDAG regarding the regional draft Environmental Impact Report San Diego Forward. Appointments to City commissions will also be made.

VILLAGE MERCHANTS BEGIN SELLING BOOTHS FOR OKTOBERFEST

No permit, no debt repayment plan yet, but the clock is ticking

By Kristin Kjaero

June 9, 2015 (La Mesa) – Although the City Council sent them back to the drawing board with a requirement that means they must come up with a repayment plan for $37,229 they owe the City before any new special event applications from them will be processed, the La Mesa Village Merchants Association yesterday evening sent e-mails to all 2014 Oktoberfest vendors soliciting applications and payments for booth rentals for a 2015 Oktoberfest.

The e-mail states, “Even though it was very hot during the day, the event was a great success. We hope that you feel the same way and will consider joining us again this year.”

The Merchants group owes the City $33,996 for Police, Fire and other support services provided for the 2014 Oktoberfest, and said at the last City Council meeting that they’d spent the revenue from it on Christmas in the Village instead of paying back the City’s General Fund.

The e-mail gives the vendors a date, time, fees for booth rental (ranging from $500 for crafters up to $2,100 for food vendors plus $100 cleaning deposit), and where to send their checks, but does not mention the debt issue or problems with their previous application which triggered a City Council policy change regarding special event applications and permits.

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD FOR LA MESA OKTOBERFEST 2015

Debt from 2014 leaves future wide open

"I feel for the Merchants, I feel for the situation, believe me I do, but when you have the money and you know you owe the money, you’ve got to get your priorities straight. I would say the same thing to my children, if they got the rent to pay and they’ve got other things to pay. You get your priorities straight and pay the rent, or you’re going to be out on the street." - Councilmember Ruth Sterling

By Kristin Kjaero

May 30, 2015 (La Mesa) – The operation of this year’s Oktoberfest is up in the air, with the door open for a new organizer to potentially take over. Last week, the city of La Mesa received an application from the La Mesa Village Merchants Association for the 2015 Oktoberfest, but the Merchants’ group still owes the city $37,229 for past events including last year’s Oktoberfest.  Without ruling on the application directly, the city added a phrase to its special event application policy that empowers the City Manager with discretion to pre-qualify and negotiate with applicants.

 The Merchants Association proposed to pay both its past debts and future costs by taking over the entire event without the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce’s participation, combined with a request asking the Council  to roll back cost recovery to 50%. The Merchants group also promised to place future proceeds from 2015 into an escrow account so the City would be the first paid from future event revenues. 2015 Car Show series, funded annually by Oktoberfest profits, was also cancelled last week by the Merchants.

This isn’t the first time that the Merchants Association’s finances have lead to a change in the way the City processes applications for special events.

LA MESA CITY COUNCIL ROUNDUP

By Kristin Kjaero

April 14, 2015 (La Mesa) – A retirement, traffic circle safety on Harbinson after a crash, and permitting  projects after construction (from a chicken coop to a cave) were topics before the La Mesa City Council tonight.

The unmistakable star at the La Mesa City Council meeting today was Max, who is retiring at the ripe age of 7. That’s because Max is a chocolate lab and Police narcotic dog. Together with his handler, Officer Derek Cox, they have recovered over 2,700 grams of narcotics and made more than 156 felony narcotics arrests. To show he was on the job one last time, Max pawed up to inspect the Councilmembers’ desks as Cox made the rounds shaking hands. As handlers and dogs form such a strong bonds, Max is being allowed to stay with the family he loves.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPORT: MARCH 9-11

 

East County News Service

March 8, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--The Crest/Dehesa/Granite Hills/Harbison Canyon planning group meets Monday, March 9th at 7 p.m. The community of Crest currently has only one way in and one way out, a serious danger during a major wildfire.  This week, the planning group will consider a proposal to create an emergency egress route from Crest through an avocado grove north to Interstate 8.

CRIME DOWN, LA MESA POLICE CHIEF REPORTS

 

Council also heard city’s quarterly financial report and filled Parking Commission vacancy

By Janis Russell

February 13, 2015 (La Mesa)- At the La Mesa city council meeting Tuesday,  former Police Chief Ed Aceves presented the quarterly crime report-and some good news:  crime last year declined from 2013. Chief Aceves said the crime rate overall is down, “the lowest it’s been since 2011.”

He also presented  charts.  One showed that in 2014, there were no homicides.  However there were  16 rapes, 68 robberies, and 124 aggravated assaults (assault with some type of injury). The aggravated assault  had the biggest increase from 2013. 28 robbery cases were cleared, or solved, in 2014.

GROSSMONT CENTER AND LA MESA VILLAGE - WHAT CHANGES AHEAD?

By Kristin Kjaero

January 28, 2015 (La Mesa) – At his first City Council meeting with a full agenda, recently elected Councilmember Guy McWhirter joked that he used to think the meetings were boring and overly lengthy and dreamed of better efficiency. But after attending a League of California Cities course for newly elected representatives, he’s learned why this format is necessary to allow for full public participation and disclosure.

That fairly sums up Tuesday’s La Mesa Council meeting, one moment compellingly informative, the next protractedly bureaucratic.

Two presentations of particular interest could have significant impact on their parts of town, namely a presentation by the Cushman family about their vision for redevelopment of Grossmont Center, and a staff report on a study investigating the possibility of building a parking building in the Village.

Other Tags: 

Type of Page: 

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPORT

 

 

East County News Service

January 25, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Here are some of the most important items on agendas of our local boards, commissions and councils this week in San Diego’s East County.

LA MESA CITY COUNCIL ROUNDUP

 

Free parking extended, key appointments made

By Kristin Kjaero

January 14, 2015 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa City Council held their first full meeting since being sworn into office in December.  

The annual State of the City address, outside Board council assignments, village parking meters, a marketing and communications plan, and the appointment of two students to the Youth Advisory Commission were the topics of the day.

Other Tags: 

Type of Page: 

MCWHIRTER RESPONDS TO CANDIDATE QUESTIONS IN LA MESA

 

East County News Service

October 31, 2014 (La Mesa)—Guy McWhirter cancelled his radio interview last week, stating that he needed to assist his daughter, who is expecting a baby soon.  He asked for questions to respond to in writing. 

You can hear the radio interviews with the other four candidates, and read highlights from their interviews here: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/la-mesa-candidates-air-depth-views-interviews-east-county-magazine

 

For McWhirter’s written responses to our questions, click “read more” and scroll down.

READERS EDITORIAL: TERM LIMITS: WRONG IDEA. WRONG PLACE.

By Anthony D. Mc Ivor

A term limits ordinance for La Mesa is on our ballots.  This tired, discredited political experiment only survives because deep-pocket activists cleverly disguise its real cost: the recurring damage to a citizen’s freedom of choice at the ballot box.

Other Tags: 

Type of Page: 

LA MESA CANDIDATES AIR IN-DEPTH VIEWS IN INTERVIEWS WITH EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE

 

 

Four of the five candidates sat down for in-depth radio interviews with East County Magazine. 

Hear their full interviews here (listed in the order they aired on KNSJ); or to read highlights click "read more" and scroll down:

Patrick Dean: http://kiwi6.com/file/bchwu7qbqx 

Pete Gregorovic: http://kiwi6.com/file/78puh4vuq3

Bill Baber:  http://kiwi6.com/file/t8a9fxd7io

Mary England: http://kiwi6.com/file/qn2jcyft15

Updated 11/1/14: Bill Baber has clarified his position on recusals and raised questions over possible conflicts of interests by Mary England.  See his remarks in the text below.

Update October 31, 2014: Guy McWhirter, who was not available for a radio interview, provided written responses to our candidate questions today, after the story below was published. Read his responses here.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: L. to R.: Bill Baber, Patrick Dean, Mary England, Pete Gregorovic, Guy McWhirter

October 30, 2014 (La Mesa) –La Mesa has two open seats on its City Council, since long-time Councliman Ernie Ewin is retiring and Councliman Mark Arpostathis is running for mayor.  Five candidates are running—and the winners could swing the Council in new directions for the future.   Overall, this year's pack of candidates brings extensive experience and enthusiasm to the contest to represent the citizens of La Mesa.

READER’S EDITORIAL: TERM LIMITS A BAD DEAL FOR LA MESA

By Kristin Kjaero

October 20, 2014 (La Mesa) -- Don’t be fooled by Prop K. La Mesa voters have a term limits proposal for City Council on their ballots, but it’s unnecessary, undemocratic, and won’t work as advertised.

This election we'll have a majority with two years or less experience on our City Council. Yes, you read that correctly: no matter who wins, there will be two new people, plus a third half way through a first term - all without term limits in place.

And although it’s called the “three consecutive terms limit,” Prop K would actually allow candidates to run again after sitting out one 4-year cycle. The only thing it would limit is voters’ choices.

Other Tags: 

Type of Page: 

READER'S EDITORIAL: A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

 

The first in a series of essays from No Term Limits in La Mesa to examine the underlying assumptions and principles around term limits, whether they are “needed” or work as claimed, and just what side effects they may bring with  them.

By No Term Limits in La Mesa

September 24, 2014 (La Mesa)--Proponents of term limits claim that term limits are needed because incumbent advantage makes it impossible for a challenger to win. But is this assumption really the case?

LA MESA COUNCIL SNUFFS OUT E-CIGARETTES AS COUNCILWOMAN LIGHTS UP

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 9, 2014 (La Mesa) - La Mesa’s City Council voted to snuff out electronic cigarettes – prompting one Councilmember to light up in protest.

By a 4-1 vote, the council majority voted to restrict electronic cigarettes in the same manner that cigarettes are already regulated.  The lone no vote came from Councilwoman Kristine Alessio, who lit up an e-cigarette and a standard cigarette to compare the vapor and smoke levels that wafted across the Council Chamber.

LA MESA COUNCIL VOTES AGAINST CELL PHONE BAN FOR COUNCIL MEMBERS DURING MEETINGS

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 14, 2014 (La Mesa) - La Mesa’s City Council voted down a proposal by Mayor Art Madrid that would have banned Councilmembers from using their cell phones during public meetings, including closed sessions.  Mayor Madrid argued that since members of the public in the audience are asked to silence their cell phones, council members should, too.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPORT: WHAT'S ON THE AGENDA THIS WEEK IN BOULEVARD AND LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

November 24, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- This week, the hottest meeting in town will be the Boulevard Planning Group, which has a busy agendawith many major items slated for its meeting on Thursday, December 5 at 7 p.m. in the Boulevard Fire Training/Community Room, 39919 Ribbon Wood Road in Boulevard.  View full agenda.

Planners will hold a question and answer session on a new Boulevard Fire Station – and consider whether a moratorium should be requested for new large-scale commercial projects until Boulevard Fire Stations are verifiably staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The agenda also includes major energy projects and some controversial water issues.

COUNCIL POSTPONES ACTION ON TERM LIMITS AFTER VIGOROUS DEBATE

By Alex Riggins

October 23, 2013 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa City Council voted 3-2 on Tuesday night to once again delay a vote that could put term limits for the mayor and the city council on ballots next year.

After nearly an hour of discussion by the council and public comments, Councilmember Ernie Ewin motioned for the matter to be delayed once again so that he and the council could have more time to decide if they will put the matter on the ballot themselves.

“I want this to be vetted, and to give us all a chance to come back and really think about this,” Ewin said as he motioned for the delay.

LA MESA POSTPONES ACTION ON TERM LIMITS, MOVES FORWARD ON CHICKEN ORDINANCE

 

By Alex Riggins

(October 9, 2013 (La Mesa)--The La Mesa City Council voted 5-0 on Wednesday to postpone a decision on whether to place a measure on the November 2014 ballot regarding term limits for the mayor and council members. The item, introduced by Vice Mayor Kristine Alessio, is the first step towards imposing limits on the number of consecutive terms that councilmembers could hold office.

LA MESA COUNCIL VOTES TO DEFUND PBID CONSULTANTS, MAY CONSIDER MAINTENANCE AGREEMENT

 

By Janis Mork

September 12, 2013 (La Mesa)- At Tuesday’s City Council Meeting, Council got a status report and update of  a revised and scaled down Planned Business Improvement District (PBID) development plan  from two members of the PBID  Formation Committee, Lynn McRey and Bill Ratan.  Council voted 4-1 to stop funding consulting fees for the faltering PBID effort,  dimming prospects for a PBID in La Mesa’s future. Mayor Art Madrid was the lone dissenting vote.

LA MESA CITY COUNCIL APPROVES INCREASED SEWER SERVICE RATES

 

By Janis Mork and Jake Christie

May 30, 2013 (La Mesa)- La Mesa’s City Council unanimously approved increasing sewer service rates at its May 14 meeting. For the average family, the rate will rise by 7% in each of the next two years. Ironically, citizens' successful effort at conserving water has reduced city revenues--and was among the factors cited by Council to justify the rate hike, which drew strong objections from some residents present.

FEDERAL SEQUESTRATION CUTS HIT HARD IN LA MESA; CITY ELIMINATES MOST PUBLIC SERVICES FOR ELDERLY AND YOUNG PEOPLE

 

March 27, 2013 (La Mesa)—The federal government has slashed Community Development Block Grant funding for La Mesa from $800,000 a few years ago down to just $350,000 this year. As a result, the City Council voted 5-0 on Tuesday to completely eliminate funds for all public services funded by CDGB, except for fair housing. The cuts fall largely on programs that help the elderly, poor and disabled.

Funds will be axed for the Alzheimer’s Association, East County YMCA Summer Camp, Meals on Wheels of Greater San Diego, San Diego Youth Services, Elder help, Interfaith Shelter Network, Senior Community Centers, and more.

Mayor Art Madrid called the elimination of public services a “tough decision” necessitated by federal sequestration cuts. Sequestration mandates cuts across the board in nearly all federal agencies as a result of Congress failing to reach agreement on how to reduce federal debt and resolve the federal budget.  Democrats sought a combination of revenue increases and budget cuts, while Republicans have blocked such proposals, holding out for cuts-only solutions.

HOMELESSNESS, DOWNTOWN STREETSCAPE, AND FILLING VACANCIES ON COMMISSIONS TOP LA MESA COUNCIL AGENDA

 

January 20, 2013 (La Mesa) – La Mesa City Council will hear a presentation Tuesday regarding the San Diego Grantmakers’ Homelessness Working Group’s “Keys to Housing: Ending Family Homelessness Initiative.”  In addition, a status update on construction of the downtown streetscape will be presented.

Also on the agenda are interviews of applicants for city board and commission vacancies, council committee reports, and discussion of council travel policy, among other items.

LAST MINUTE SPECIAL INTEREST MONEY POURS INTO LA MESA COUNCIL RACE

By Kristin Kjaero

November 5, 2012 (La Mesa) -- ECM reviewed the October 25 final financial reports before the election, and discovered that special interest money from out of town and out of state has poured into the La Mesa City Council race.

The California Real Estate Committee PAC located in Los Angeles filed an Independent Expenditure Report that showed they spent $30,000 on mailers for Laura Lothian, and had received a $7,716 contribution for a poll from the National Association of Realtors Fund located in Chicago.

Other Tags: 

Type of Page: 

ONE STOP SHOP FOR VOTERS: LA MESA CITY COUNCIL ELECTION

By Kristin Kjaero

October 10, 2012 (La Mesa) -- Absentee Ballots went out yesterday. Do you have a particular topic that would influence your vote for La Mesa City Council? See what the candidates have said in their own words at candidate Forums.  Topics are organized alphabetically in categories, to make it simple to find what you are looking for.

 

We also provide links to their websites and articles from prior campaigns, for those who want to know more about the candidates themselves and their histories.

Other Tags: 

Type of Page: 

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: VIDEO OF THE 2ND LA MESA CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES FORUM

 

Forum offers candidates a chance to touch on more topics from Parking in the Village, to the Homeless at the Library, to Global Warming.

 

By Kristin Kjaero

September 29, 2012 (La Mesa, Ca.) – The League of Women Voters hosted the second City Council Candidate Forum.

East County Magazine was there to record so you can hear the candidates in their own words, and we have provided separate video links so you can peruse their responses topic by topic. 

Other Tags: 

Type of Page: 

DEVELOPMENT ISSUES DOMINATE LA MESA CANDIDATES’ FORUM

 

Candidates Clash Over Their Visions for City’s Future

By Mark Gabrish Conlan

September 15, 2012 (La Mesa)--Five candidates for two seats on the La Mesa City Council — Kristine Alessio, Patrick Dean, Laura Lothian, Shannon O’Dunn and 20-year incumbent Ruth Sterling — met September 13 for the first candidates’ forum of the campaign. Held at the La Mesa Community Center on Memorial Drive and sponsored by the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, the 90-minute forum centered mostly around finances and development, specifically around downtown and the La Mesa Village area, but it also touched on issues like the city’s responsibility towards homeless people and whether it should declare itself a fair-trade zone.

Other Tags: 

Type of Page: 

LA MESA CANDIDATE FORUM SEPT. 27

September 15, 2012 (La Mesa)--The League of Women Voters will sponsor and moderate a candidate forum for La Mesa City Council candidates in the 2012 election. The forum will be held on September 27 from 7 to 9 pm at the La Mesa City Council Chamber.

Pages