By Miriam Raftery
Photo, left to right: Mejgan Afshan, Letitia Dickerson, Patricia Dillard, and Laura Lothian
July 20, 2021 (La Mesa) – So far, the lineup of candidates seeking to serve on La Mesa’s City Council have one thing in common: all are women who filed papers to run for a vacancy on the Council left when ex-Councilmember Akilah Weber won election to the state Assembly. Dr Weber, a Democrat, was the first Black woman to serve on the Council.
The filing deadline opened July 12 and will close on August 6, so more candidates may yet file. The candidates who have filed to run so far are:
Mejgan Afshan, daughter of Afghan refugees, grew up in La Mesa and City Heights, according to her bio. She is cofounder of Borderlands for Equity, a civil rights nonprofit, and a founder of the East County Justice Coalition. She has worked for the International Rescue Committee, CAIR San Diego, and is Treasurer of the San Diego Refugee Forum. She also worked for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, and the San Diego County Democratic Party.
Letitia Dickerson is running on a platform of rebuilding La Mesa including “faith, community and public relations.” Formerly homeless, she went on to own two businesses, according to her website. She is vice president of SoCal Day of Hope and President of Floodwaters Ministry, doing outreach to people in need. A long-time East County resident, she previously ran for El Cajon’s City Council. Her focus would include helping the homeless and veterans, affordable housing, and aiding residents and businesses emerging from the pandemic.
Patricia Dillard says she is running to provide all La Mesans with access to economic opportunities, healthy neighborhoods, and high quality education. Her campaign website states that she has lived in La Mesa since 1996 with her family. A registered Democrat and minister’s wife, she works with Western Capital Mortgage and holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership. She currently serves as Vice Chair of La Mesa’s Community Police Oversight Board.
Laura Lothian, a realtor with a business in the La Mesa Village, has run on a pro-business platform multiple times in the past for council and mayor, but did not win. In 2020 she was endorsed by the county Republican party. She also serves on the La Mesa Village Association Board, the merchants’ group representing the downtown area, and has called for beautification of the village. She supports police and opposed formation of the Community Police Oversight Board.
Note: Tony Orlando pulled papers to run, but today told East County Magazine that he has decided not to run and instead will endorse Lothian. He serves on La Mesa’s personnel appeals board and is pastor of Lifepoint Church.
How to run: There’s still time for more candidates to file to run. The deadline to file is August 6 at noon. A candidate must be a resident and registered voter in La Mesa, a U.S. citizen, and over 18 years old by election day, Nove.ber 2 Appointments are required in advance with the city clerk. For more information, visit https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/do-you-want-run-la-mesa-city-council-replace-dr-weber.