East County News Service
December 19, 2014 (La Mesa)--It was the end of an era last Tuesday night at the La Mesa City Hall, where Mayor Art Madrid stepped down after a quarter of a century at the helm—one fourth of the time since La Mesa became a city.
Newly elected Mayor Mark Araposthis was sworn in by a Greek orthodox priest. In addition to the new Mayor, two new Councilmembers, Bill Baber and Guy McWhirter, were sworn in to replace retiring Councilman Ernie Ewin and fill the vacancy left on the Council by Araposthis’ ascension to the Mayoral seat.
The public packed the Council Chambers. Mayors from other cities and state officials came with proclamations to honor the long-serving outgoing leaders. City Manager Dave Witt praised the accomplishments of Madrid and Ewin, noting that despite disagreements through the years, they also had much in common as they worked for the betterment of La Mesa.
Madrid reminded those present that future La Mesa officials will be judged by their actions. Then he listed a few of his own, including revitalizing the downtown village, the Centennial celebration, and redevelopment of Fletcher Parkway.
Former San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy swore in McWhirter and Baber, a former Murphy staffer. The new council moved briskly through an agenda of non-controversial items before adjourning to a reception next door at the Police Department, ending an era and preparing to usher in a new one when the council convenes for its first full session in January.