Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this

View the interview at

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Former Lemon Grove Councilman George Gastil is poised to regain his seat.

November 7, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Who are the potential newest faces on East County City Councils—and what was it like to campaign amid a pandemic?

ECM invited all non-incumbents leading in East County City Council races as of November 5 for a Zoom interview to share secrets of their apparent successes and what they hope to accomplish if they win their elections to become the newcomers on local councils.

Those who participated are Jack Shu in La Mesa, George Gastil in Lemon Grove, as well as Michelle Metschel and Stephanie Harper in El Cajon, who at the time were separated by just 44 votes.  (Samm Hurst in Santee was unable to participate due to her work schedule; Liana Lebaron in Lemon Grove did not respond.) 

Update Nov.10:  Since these interviews were taped, in El Cajon’s district 2, Letitia Dickerson has edged into second place after Metschel, with only one winner for the seat. In La Mesa, where the top two will win, Shu is now in second, after Parent.  Lebaron has moved into first place ahead of Gastil in Lemon Grove, though both are still on track to win seats. In Santee, Hurst and Trotter are in a dead heat. As of Nov. 10, Hurst holds a razor-thin two-vote lead. These close races show that every vote counts!

View the interviews, which were recorded on November 5, at


Miriam Raftery, editor and founder of East County Magazine, has over 35 years of journalism experience. She has won more than 350 journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, San Diego Press Club, and the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Her honors include the Sol Price Award for responsible journalism and three James Julian awards for public interest reporting from SPJ’s San Diego chapter. She has received top honors for investigative journalism, multicultural reporting, coverage of immigrant and refugee issues, politics, breaking news and more. Thousands of her articles have appeared in national and regional publications.

East County Magazine gratefully acknowledges the Facebook Journalism Project for its COVID-19 Relief Fund grant to support our local news reporting including impacts on vulnerable communities, local candidate forums, breaking news and emergency coverage during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more: #FacebookJournalismProject and

You can donate to support our local journalism efforts during the pandemic at



Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.