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New public discussion series considers water, public safety, downtown redevelopment and urban issues central to city’s future ; first meeting Sept. 23

September 8, 2015 (La Mesa – La Mesa Conversations, a new civic group organized as a volunteer committee, announced a new series of public programs and social events today. The Committee’s objective is to broaden, enrich and invigorate La Mesa’s civic dialogue on issues of enduring importance to residents citywide.

 “Community begins with – and is sustained by – communication,” says committee member Dr. Anthony Mc Ivor. “The simplest, most direct, and valuable form of local communication is informed conversation. By tapping into that, the series creates opportunities to learn from each other and to weigh the choices that will shape La Mesa’s future.”

The series opens with the Future of Water in La Mesa, moderated by Ry Rivard of Voice of San Diego. Panelists include Carlos Lugo, General Manager, Helix Water District; John Bolthouse, Executive Director of the Water Conservation Garden; and Lani Lutar, consultant to the Water Reliability Coalition.  The program runs from 6:00 to 7:30pm on Wednesday, September 23 at San Pasqual Winery on La Mesa Boulevard.

The program format reflects the La Mesa Conversations Committee’s belief that major city-wide issues cannot be tackled by a single agency or organization. “Initial public response to this approach is overwhelmingly positive,” notes Committee member Bonnie Baranoff. “People want to know how we can address these issues as a community, working together,” she says. 

On October 22 (5:30 to 7:30) the Conversations group will convene a no-host social mixer at Johnny B’s on La Mesa Boulevard. Special guest Mayor Mark Arapostathis will talk informally about La Mesa’s OktoberFest.  

In upcoming programs, the series will feature discussions of public safety/policing, transit, downtown re-development, and recreation/hospitality initiatives across the city.  These public conversations will take place in the historic Mason's Lodge on Date Street downtown. 

“For small cities like La Mesa, civic engagement is crucial,” says Colin Parent. “We are hosting an ongoing dialogue about how our city will continue to grow and thrive,” Parent affirms.  

La Mesa Conversations Committee members are Bonnie Baranoff, Gene Carpenter, John Greenwell, Dexter Levy, Laurie MacDonald, Anthony Mc Ivor and Colin Parent.

Conversations programs and events are open to all and free of chargeSeating for the water discussion in September is limited.  For further information or RSVP visit www.lamesaconversations.org

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