LA MESA CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES SHARE VIEWS AT THIRD VOTERS FORUM

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By Janis Russell

October 20, 2016 (La Mesa) - Topics ranging from crime rates to homelessness to business issues were discussed Tuesday, when La Mesa City Council incumbents Kristine Alessio and Ruth Sterling along with challenger Colin Parent participated in a forum held at the La Mesa Police Department community room.   The forum was hosted by the League of Women Voters of San Diego and the American Association of University Women.

Each of the candidates was given two minutes for an opening statement.

Sterling (left) began. She recited a letter from Aug 15, 2012 in which the person stated how loyal he thought Sterling was for a lone vote. “I remain the same- loyal and committed to representing you…I brought this letter forward because I was a lone voice in the wilderness… I look forward to running and serving you again for another four years.”

Parent spoke next. “I have substantial public policy experience…I’m the only Democrat in this race…I am running a vigorous campaign.” He mentioned problems in La Mesa, including crime that has recently increased.  In the second quarter of 2016, crime is up 8.6% over the same time last year, according to the city’s most recent police report.  Violent crimes are up over 30% year to date:  http://ca-lamesa3.civicplus.com/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/869?fileID=1484

Alessio insisted that crime hasn’t gone up. “It’s gone down over the last 30 years.” Like Parent, she went to Valhalla and is an attorney. Since being on Council, one accomplishment has been the push to stop high rise development buildings by people’s homes. “I represent all of you."

Then there was time for questions and answers. Donna May-Bartlett from the League was the moderator.

One person wanted to know how long each candidate has lived in La Mesa and what they have done.

Sterling answered first. “I was born and raised in San Diego. I’ve lived in La Mesa for 53 years… I raised my four children here. I’ve been on La Mesa City Council for 24 years,” she added. “The main thing is I represented you all these years…”

Parent replied, “I’m a native to East County… I’ve been in La Mesa a couple years… My dad [Don Parent] works at SDG&E… I was going to Council meetings all over East County” when he was a kid with his dad.

Alessio (right) said, “I’ve been here about 24 years… What I did before is I was a planning commissioner for 10 years.” She also served on the board of directors for East County YMCA and East County Boys and Girls Club. I love La Mesa.

The next question was on how La Mesa can address climate change.

Parent (left) said, “The city of La Mesa is required to adopt a climate action plan… I believe in a human cause (climate change). There’s no reason we shouldn’t adopt [the plan].” Parent, an attorney, has called for a climate action plan that is enforceable.

Alessio, also an attorney, responded, “It is necessary under the law” but qualified that, “If it’s enforceable, it’s not legal…I believe we can accomplish the climate action plan quite easily” without enforcing more rules. I’m on the subcommittee of the climate action plan,” she added.

Sterling said, “We have a consultant to look into this… Nobody’s made a judgment or decision. We are going to obey the law…we also want to make sure the change is cost effective.”

Someone asked what plans each candidate has regarding the homeless population in La Mesa.

Alessio said that housing isn’t all the homeless need. Instead, there should be treatment for those homeless who are mentally ill and have any alcohol or drug addictions. “There’s not a blanket solution to it,” she concluded.

Sterling, a retired nurse, said, “It’s a regional issue everywhere…I want to be involved by going to the regional homeless shelter…we all need to pitch in together.”

Parent replied, “We need to do better” by pressuring the County for more resources. “Homelessness is a problem.” They don’t have a house to live in because of the housing crisis, added Parent, who specialized in affordable housing as an appointee in Governor Jerry Brown’s administration.

Another person wanted to know, If the city doesn’t purchase funding for the library, where will they find funding?

Sterling said, “Funding is a problem” and she suggested maybe they could work with the County.

Parent said, “If we don’t build a new library, we’ll be out of $1 million and taxpayers will have to pay for it.” He is also in support of having a new civic center. “There’s not enough space” in the library, he added.

Alessio said, “If the County asked for the money back, we’re going to have to pay the County back…the County has made no demand on us.”

Someone else asked if they oppose or support high density development in La Mesa’s downtown village.

Parent said, “We should have a contextually appropriate area.”  There are opportunities to do things near the transit area, he added. He thinks there should be town homes.

Alessio was strongly opposed. “A three story building is adequate,” she said.

Sterling answered, “There’s nothing charming about three story buildings…we just don’t want to become a Temecula…”

Someone asked how they felt about group homes in La Mesa.

Alessio has been an advocate for residents affected of group homes. The problem is “there’s been no oversight at group homes.” She added that if they adopted a Conditional Use Permit, they would need to be regulated.

Sterling said, “We have, on one street here, group homes [that] have bought almost all homes in the neighborhood.” That’s a problem. “Group homes are very nice, but they have to be separated… They do need to be regulated.”

Parent said, “We should be careful and sensitive of where these are located.” He supports legislation for local control for group homes.

Another person asked if Prop 64 passes and legalizes recreational marijuana, how will it affect La Mesa? And when will the dispensaries in La Mesa be closed?

Sterling answered, “Dispensaries are operating now” though they are currently illegal and the city has fought to shut them down. But they should be separate from places like child care centers, churches, and schools if marijuana is legalized, she believes.

Parent clarified Prop 64 won’t legalize dispensaries, since the initiatives still gives cities controls. “It will cost $10,000-12,000 for the dispensary to shut down.”

Alessio replied, “If it’s passed, we’ll have to treat it like how we treat alcohol.” Dispensaries operate illegally. “It takes a year for a dispensary to shut down.”

Another person asked what they can do to address crime in La Mesa.

Parent suggested keeping officers long term, emphasizing again that crime has gone up.

Alessio said, “Crime is always a concern… [Police] don’t want five-year contracts…” Alessio clarified that historically, crime hasn’t gone up and there’s no retention problem for the La Mesa Police. They are fine with two year contracts.

Sterling said that to reduce crime, the police collect more data and they collaborate with other police departments nearby and the Sheriff’s department.

Someone asked if there’s any opportunity to increase bicycle and walking trails.

Alessio answered, “We’ve been doing that.” La Mesa is the award winner in urban trails. There are bike lanes etc.” she added.

Sterling replied, “We just allocated $250 for bicycle lanes... in West La Mesa” at the last City Council meeting. “We are really involved with pedestrian lanes and bicycle lanes.”

Parent, who serves as counsel for Circulate San Diego, said the city should encourage more biking and walking for residents. “Make it so they feel safe.”

Someone asked about steps to take in civic engagement/public input in local government.

Sterling responded, “The civic engagement is very important… I’ve heard Council members want to change to 6:00” for all Council meetings rather than keep it at 4:00 and 6:00. That wasn’t right to Sterling.

Parent thought it was a mistake to hire the city manager without public input.”  Yvonne Garrett replaces David Witt who retired in August. (See the story here: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/la-mesa-appoints-yvonne-garrett-new-city-manager.)

Alessio said, “We have a strong city manager form of government…” As far as getting people to come to city council meetings, she posts about it on social media and invites people on the streets.

Another person said that some people don’t have a business license. If it’s not a tax, would they consider abolishing it?

Parent said he’d consider it. He thought the fee was $30.

Alessio answered, “I think our business license fees are $25.” She thought it was important to have business licenses so people’s business locations could be tracked.

Sterling replied, “I haven’t heard any complaints of the business license.” She also thought it was important for the same reason as Alessio.

Someone asked what Council can do to encourage more dining and restaurant options.

Alessio said that the key is to promote downtown because “a) people want to come here and b) making people want to come here”, which is what La Mesa has been doing.

Parent responded, “We do have to make sure there’s a culture of saying yes at city hall” to new business efforts, like a new business association.

Someone asked what Council can do to stem the flow of sex trafficking in East County.

Sterling said that the La Mesa Police should be more aware of this than her, and the La Mesa Police work with other police departments.

Parent answered, “It’s a pretty big issue in the San Diego region.” Gang members have moved from drug trafficking to sex trafficking, and they earn more money in sex trafficking. He said that everyone “should be supportive of public safety personnel.”

Alessio replied, “Sex trafficking continues to be a problem.” Council has been giving the police resources when they need it.

Someone asked if they support Measure A which will raise taxes in La Mesa.

Parent said, “Yes. Measure A will provide over $1 million in infrastructure” to fix the 94 freeway and it will provide grant money to change the trolley on La Mesa Blvd “so it doesn’t affect traffic.”

Alessio was opposed. “It’s wrong.” It raises the tax limit and it’s a competitive grant for the trolley, she added.

Sterling was also opposed. “I don’t think taxes would put La Mesa in a position where they can’t ever have their own bond later.”

Someone asked about each of the candidates’ impressions on Oktoberfest and wondered if it should continue.

Alessio answered, “This year was one of the best.” She would like it to be continued because “it’s a tradition in La Mesa.”

Sterling said, “I think Oktoberfest is synonymous with La Mesa. I’m all for it.”

Parent replied, “We should have a Village association to take on the responsibility” of Oktoberfest. “Oktoberfest is absolutely a part of La Mesa,” he added.

Someone mentioned a lot of La Mesa residents shop outside of La Mesa. They wanted to know when the tax rate would be lowered.

Sterling was unsure. “Many, many people are shopping on the Internet… We’re getting good sales tax from the Internet.”

Parent said, “I think it’s 10 years or something before the tax expires… It’s a substantial part of the budget… I wouldn’t be ready to get rid of it right now…”

Alessio answered, “Prop L is scheduled to sunset in 12 years.” That’s when the tax rate would be lowered.  “It has kept us afloat during hard times…”

Someone asked when the lease is up on Grossmont Center and what the plans are now.

Sterling responded, “The lease is up now” adding that the Cushman family, owners of the center, are “kind of secretive” about plans. But, recently, Sports Authority closed and a Restoration Hardware center opened in its place.

Parent added that the new tenants have extended their lease for an additional 2-3 years.

Alessio had no comment since Sterling and Parent said what needed to be said.

Last question was each candidate saying one good thing of the two other candidates.

Parent replied, “Ruth demonstrates a long standing commitment to La Mesa and a willingness to listen.” He admired Alessio for expressing support of her daughter.

Alessio commented, “Ruth is not afraid to be challenged” and she liked “Colin’s tenacity.”

Sterling thought Parent had a bright future, “but I hope it’s not with La Mesa City Council.” She also stated, “Kristine is a really special person [and] is well liked by the Council.”

The candidates gave their closing statements.

Alessio started. “I’ve been here a long time…I’ve been civically involved in for a long time.” She concluded, “I want to serve you…I’m your neighbor [and] your friend.” (For more information, visit: http://www.votealessio2016.com/.)

Parent said, “I think La Mesa is a wonderful place to live” but there are still challenges. “I am running a very spirited campaign.” (Go to: http://www.colinparent.org/.)

Sterling said, “La Mesa is a great place to live. It’s stable and a well run city…I’m part of that stability. It’s my greatest honor to serve you all these years.” She was also proud to be endorsed by the La Mesa Police.

For more information on the League of Women Voters or American Association of University Women, visit: www.lwvsandiego.org or http://www.aauw.org/.

Also, to get the facts before voting, go to LWV’s voter information site at http://votersedge.org/ca.

Comments

What do we want in a Council candidate?

Gosh, from the comments below, it sure sounds like we have at least four unwritten requirements for La Mesa Council candidates. 1. No time away from the hearth – not for law school, not for public policy work at the state level, not at all. Such disloyalty to local ties will be scorned. 2. No aspirations. If you are a mid-30’s professional who desires to grow with your career – we don’t want you. Yes, our term limits will turf you out anyway, but we cannot abide the thought that your achievements might earn you an earlier bid for higher office. La Mesa will not serve as a mere rung in anyone’s career ladder – even if your work here might help the city. 3. No campaign war chest. We’ve been well-schooled in the horrors of incumbent advantage – we see it on the campaign signage right here, right now. So we know how difficult and expensive it is to unseat an incumbent. But if you successfully raise campaign funds because many people (regular folks like me) believe in you, we will attack you for having the cheek to think you could add postal expense to shoe leather and maybe even win. 4. No outside experience. Even if you have the civic and legal expertise that marks a candidate as the best qualified to emerge locally in many years, and especially if that expertise might be useful representing us in council chambers, we don’t want it. And most especially not, if you happen to be both young and widely experienced. After all, the average age on the La Mesa Council must be over 60. What possible advantage could a bright, respected mid-career legal professional offer such an august body? If these are the criteria by which we choose, we are in worse shape than anyone thought.

Colin Parent is a Sacramento picked council candidate for hire!

Colin Parents past performance is an indication of future behavior. By his own admission, not more than a couple years in any one place or any job may demonstrate for many his intended career government wonk pathway is to use La Mesa as just another rung on his ladder to the stratosphere of political heaven. As far as his outside funds, maybe those who question this can speak to the editor of ECM since she wrote the story on that and determine if she is truthful in her story. http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/hefty-donations-flow-la-mesa-council-races There many some, even many, who want this Sacramento selected and $60,000 funded city council member for hire who has never lived in La Mesa until less than than two years. Not me!

PLEASE PROVIDE YOUR SOURCE

I've heard a lot of conjecture on these posts about Colin and the money he's received from Sacramento. He must be well liked there and respected for his hard work. I doubt they would just throw money at him if they didn't feel that way. Do folks feel like his past work and experience up there would hurt La Mesa or help La Mesa? Do you think that if he indeed does have higher aspirations that he wouldn't do the best he can to make La Mesa stand out in a positive way? As to him not staying with La Mesa. Where did those of you who have said this is just a stepping stone or a rung in the ladder for him get your information? Who was your source? I have never heard anyone but on here make that case. Did he tell you that?
Have all the current Council Members given you detractors of Colin binding assurances that they will stay the required twelve years even if a better opportunity arises? Can you share that document with us? Was there something in the Term Limits Bill binding those that ran that they must commit to twelve years regardless that I missed?

HEFTY DONATIONS FLOW TO LA MESA COUNCIL RACES

$60,000 in outsider money so far for Colin Parent, only a few thousand from La Mesans! http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/hefty-donations-flow-la-mesa-council-races

Colin Parent is a local, experienced candidate for LaMesaCouncil

Colin is an East County native. The Parent family has lived in this area since the early sixties, as have I. It's not like he just moved here from Michigan! Part of his current job is to be familiar with all areas of San Diego County, including La Mesa. Colin is intelligent, educated, experienced, enthusiastic and knowledgeable about his community. La Mesa will be fortunate to have him on their city council.

Co-Sponsers Alessio and Baber bring you this

Currently only one Council Member is required to place an item on the La Mesa City Council Agenda.

On Tuesday Oct. 25 our current City Council will be voting on the tweaking of Resolution #2002-059. This Was presented to our City Council by Councilperson's Alessio and Baber.

This language will take its place

Council initiated items:
All Council initiated requests shall be made [in writing] directly to the City Manager. If the City Manager and the [two] Councilmember[s] making such a request agree that the issue is appropriate and relevant to the official business of the City, the Manager shall notify the City Clerk to place such an item on the agenda for the next scheduled meeting.

This Resolution has the new requirement that, apart from the City Manager, there must be two (2) City Council Members who agree that the issue is appropriate and relevant to the official business of the City. There will only be one more City Council Meeting before the Election after this Tuesdat and it will be on Election Day and likely an abbreviated one.
As I understand it, per the two sponsors Alessio and Baber, this measure is to keep individuals from “Grandstanding” and taking up valuable Council time. Is it irrational to think this sponsorship suddenly is on the Agenda as a way to control future Agendas, as well? I am concerned that this measure is potentially a way of controlling Council Members who don’t “go along to get along?”
Since January, 2014, there have been at least 40 City Council Meetings. During the October 11th Council meeting, where there was discussion of this Resolution, there were no examples presented of this current City Council Member group being accused of “Grandstanding”. They did cite examples, without naming names, of a contentious Council prior to 2014, but for the past two years not a single example was given. What problem is being solved? Are they predicting into the future all of a sudden? Now? Why wasn’t this done 40 meetings ago rather than just before an Election?
I recall a meeting I attended where the Planning Commission had made an earlier recommendation to allow three dogs instead of two. Council Member Baber’s wife, at subsequent City Council Meeting, gave a public comment request to raise this number to five, as did Council Member Alessio. No input from, or presence of an Animal Control Officer’s opinion or experience was sought. It certainly came across to me as something Mrs. Baber wanted and got, our Planning Commission’s input wasn’t discussed. Council Member Sterling’s was the lone vote against the number being raised to five instead of being raised to three.
I also recall the 2015 Council Meeting where Council Member Sterling’s was the lone vote against jeopardizing our valuable taxes that the now defunct Merchants’ Association (who ultimately received $ 47,900 worth of taxpayer services) would pay their bill to the City of La Mesa. I remember her saying that they haven’t shown that they are a good bet based on their past practices. Well folks that bill, your tax money, has been in Collections for quite some time now. That was another 4-1 vote. Same lone voice Council Member. Given past practices by the Merchants’ Association I think our City Council had the information they needed to better protect our revenues. Only Council member Sterling made use of this information (past practices of Merchant Association) to do so.
So – it is being proposed that new or current Council Members will be required to get a second approval from this current Council Majority to get anything on the Agenda? Ask yourself voters, how does a minority opinion find a way to put something on the Agenda with this new Resolution? Does this Resolution, improve Public trust in our local government? Improve transparency and accountability? Enhance Community participation in planning for our City’s future?
Could it be that rather than working for and representing Constituents, individual Councilmembers will feel pressure to choose between their standing with the Council Majority or being the voice for us, the Voters, who chose them as our representatives ?

As I wrote earlier, "it"-

As I wrote earlier, "it"--partisanship--would've been a problem last cycle if that's all there had been. If, in other words, those running had been like Colin: ignorant and inexperienced.
They weren't.
I've listened to Colin at three candidate forums. He knows embarrassingly little about our town. Nor has he been involved in any activities other than self-promotion.

Stop the uncivility

This sounds like a Trump statement: "He knows embarrassing little about our town. Nor has he been involved in any activities other than self promotion." Can't we stop this kind of rhetoric at the local level? Or has the Trump approach taken over even in La Mesa?

Colin Parent

Colin Parent is an ideal candidate for La Mesa City Council. He is young (a plus), energetic and passionate. He has lived in the community since his school years. He has a very good understanding of the issues facing La Mesa.

Colin Parent is a good choice

My family and I have met and questioned Colin. We are impressed by his enthusiasm and credentials and would love to see someone with a different point of view, like Colin, on the council. We have lived in La Mesa for just four years but love the community and are happy to see young people willing to participate.

More do as I say not as I do from Alessio

In other action, councilwoman Kristine Alessio said she joined in the SANDAG board vote appealing a Cleveland National Forest Foundation lawsuit.

Sterling asked if she polled the council before voting. Alessio said, "No," leading to discussion between the two. Sterling said, "That was one of the chief complaints that was presented to the mayor" (Madrid). She later said, "Art was crucified over and over again for not bringing something forward" to the council before acting.

Wasn't a problem last cycle but now it is?

Reference made toward Colin in previous post.

His politicizing the race along party lines and using scare tactics and other professional campaign tricks which I personally find inappropriate in local races.

The following is an Endorsement taken from Guy McWhirther's Web Page

Dear Neighbor:

As proud Republicans serving on the La Mesa City Council, representing both the values of our party and our community, we’ve had the opportunity to fight for important policies and reforms that reduce the size and influence of local government.

This November, we have a tremendous opportunity to build upon our success—but there’s also a risk we may end up with a Council that is antithetical to our beliefs.

Most prominently, we’re attempting to end the 34-year reign of Mayor Art Madrid – a politician who has been neither a good Mayor nor a good Republican.

In that spirit, we are proud to support Mark Arapostathis for Mayor, along with City Council candidates Bill Baber and Guy McWhirter. This ticket will bring a breath the new faces our Council so desperately need and will carry the Republican mantle for our great city.

Please join us in supporting the reform ticket for La Mesa: Mark Arapostathis, Bill Baber, and Guy McWhirter.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Councilmember Councilmember
Kristine Alessio Ernie Ewin
.

Council Republicans

Thanks Gene. I guarantee all those opposed to Colin Parent in his campaign for a supposed non-partisan council seat are Republicans. Unfortunately, as evidenced by the McWhiter website, most of the incumbents and their supporters have made the council a partisan government body.

Yes, Colin has made recent,

Yes, Colin has made recent, minor efforts (La Mesa Conversations and Foothill Democrats) to lay the groundwork for his campaign this year, but as the list above shows, *none of his other activities or involvements have been in La Mesa.

(*Not to depreciate the rich civic experience and learning we all gained as teenage roller skaters at Aquarius)

La Mesa City Council

Some commenters seem to think that if a person hasn't lived in La Mesa all their life, they are not 'eligible' to be a City Council member. Colin Parent has more governmental experience and has spent his career helping make cities better. Colin represents La Mesa's future despite others wanting to remain and maintain the status quo. Colin Parent La Mesa was always a part of growing up for Colin, whether it was skating at Aquarius, learning ballroom dance at Mr. Benjamin's, or celebrating birthdays in Collier Park. Colin’s first job in high school was with the East County Economic Development Council on La Mesa Blvd., just blocks from where he lives today. Colin attended UC San Diego, and earned a law degree at NYU School of Law. His professional career began in private practice at DLA Piper, representing large local clients like Qualcomm. Colin joined the Jerry Brown for Governor Campaign in 2010. He was appointed by Governor Brown to serve in his administration, where I worked on policy for affordable housing and economic development. Currently Colin serves as Policy Counsel at Circulate San Diego, advocating for public transit, safe walkable streets, greenhouse gas reduction, and sustainable land uses. As an advocate, Colin has delivered for the region: • Led a successful campaign for the local transit agency to update their troubled Compass Card fare payment system. • Organized a successful and bi-partisan coalition to win incentives for building affordable homes near transit. Civic engagement is very important to Colin. He co-founded La Mesa Conversations, a local forum for La Mesa residents to share their opinions on matters of local importance. He also co-founded the San Diego Leadership Alliance to train young professionals throughout the region to be involved with civic life. Over the last few years, Colin has had the honor of serving the community in a number of capacities, and have won several recognitions: • Former chairperson of the League of Conservation Voters’ annual environmental report card • Board member of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club • Steering Committee member for La Mesa Conversations • Ex Officio Board member of the San Diego County Young Democrats • Appointed member of the City of San Diego’s Climate Action Plan Implementation Working Group • Named San Diego Metropolitan magazine’s 40 Under 40 • Named one of the San Diego Daily Transcript’s Top Young Attorneys • Named one of the San Diego Transcript's 40 Under 40 business professionals • Profiled by the Union Tribune • Profiled by San Diego CityBeat .

Old owner FOR youth

I bought my house around the corner from Craig Maxwell 47 years ago. I think these arguments favoring home ownership over renting, long-time vs. fairly new residents, and working to obtain adequate campaign support are absurd. These arguments sound like renters are second-class citizens in La Mesa, old-timers should somehow be given preference over youth, and obtaining funding for an effective campaign is a bad thing. I imagine a lack of campaign funds has hurt challengers in recent council elections in which incumbents often have banded together in their campaigns. Criticizing Colin Parent for his youth and newness to the community serves to discourage all young people who might be willing to step up to serve their community. Even though I'm a La Mesa older timer, I know that just as many of the city's new business owners are young newcomers, our city government can also benefit from fresh ideas from a younger generation.

From An Objective Distance

I have proudly called La Mesa home for the last 14 years but have been only mildly impressed with our city's progress relative to other San Diego communities. Perhaps it takes someone, like Colin Parent, who has experienced La Mesa as both a visitor and, now community member, to truly understand how to improve it. As an example, The Village is just now experiencing a long overdo update; the next steps to ensure success are outreach and accommodation. Our merchants need more than the local populace to sustain their businesses so we need someone who knows how to introduce sound partnerships with those outside our community; considering the baby boomers desire to age-in-place, our community should welcome someone with experiences in building walkable, more mobile communities; and the power of a sincere passion for public service should not be diluted by reverse ageism (i.e. being too young). I personally welcome Mr. Parent's perspective and have every confidence that La Mesa will be better off because of his participation in its ongoing development.

"Disqualify"? I don't think

"Disqualify"? I don't think so.
If occasional error, bad judgment or misfortune were disqualifying, no one would ever be able to run.
Colin's disqualification is more specific. It's not just that he's new to area or doesn't own a house. I've known lifelong East County renter residents.
No, above all, it's that he has no community involvement. No PTA, no Friends of the Library, no Boys and Girls Club; no Lions, Kiwanis or Optimists, no commissions, no support for Flag Day, Parks and Recreational Foundation, no GMIA, no Mt. Helix Park Foundation, no volunteering of any sort.
And on, and on, and on.
Instead, what we get from Parent is a lot of partisan-laden generalizations about his involvement with Sacramento and the Brown administration.
But what he's done for La Mesa and what he knows about La Mesa could fill a thimble.

Affordable Housing

Seems like I recall one of our newer Council Members was upside down on a home and gave it back to the Bank. Should that have disqualified them for running for office? Does the fact that many don't subscribe to purchasing a home if it looks like or they fear another recession where they may have to sacrifice quality of life over being burdened with a home they can't afford or are willing to dump like one of our Councilmembers did? They were somehow given exception and qualified last cycle but this young man is not? Why is that?

No one, and I do mean no one, should be allowed to serve more...

MPS, then you should be thankful that Kristine Alessio spearheaded the Term Limits initiative in 2014. This does not effect Ruth because the initiative contained language exempting members of the Council voted in prior to 2014.
Kristene Alessio is subject to the term limits that she helped institute.

As far as the question of renter vs owner......Of course renters have all the same rights and privileges bestowed owners. But when it comes to comparing two candidates, one a renter and others as long time owners it is completely relevant to the discussion.
The two incumbents are heavily invested in La Mesa, Mr Parent can pull up stakes and move to Sacramento where his contributors are without much trouble.
That is a relevant factor.

Hope I'm not sounding like Al

Hope I'm not sounding like Al Swearengen, Gene, but as I wrote earlier on ECM, Colin's an outsider candidate (he's lived here eighteen months; he's not from La Mesa) who worked for Jerry Brown, relies completely on outside campaign contributions (only 3K of the total 63K is from La Mesans), has no experience in or understanding of our town, and wants to use La Mesa as a rung in the ladder to higher state office.
That should make the decision an easy one.
Reelect Alessio and Sterling.

Some concers

Longtime La Mesa listener - first time caller. My thoughts on the candidates. Let’s face it about half the time Ruth speaks it’s a long ramble about something that happened on the council in 1984 with little to do with the business at hand. But you can tell she cares deeply about the community in her own quirky way and she’s relatively harmless. Kristine definitely has her flaws and own personal “special interests” she fights for, but they are pretty innocuous like e-cigarettes and getting to own a million pets. But her track-record on the council seems pretty geared towards what most people in the community want and she seems to listen to the people. Colin seems like a good guy and I think he has the best intentions, is young and energetic, accomplished and has some great ideals and ambitions – but that’s what worries me is I’m afraid his ambition and ideals are better on paper than in reality. His experience is all theoretical and not practical – stuff he learned but hasn’t lived. Great ideas that may work in a hypothetical perfect world but not so in the reality of La Mesa. Yes, affordable housing for everyone would be great – the reality of section 8 apartments next door, not so great. Yes, beautiful new buildings that benefit everyone springing up all over town sounds perfect, but giving developers free-range in reality usually only works out for the benefit of the developers in the end. It’s this combined with him only actually living in La Mesa for less than 2 years as a renter (nothing wrong with renting, but it’s definitely not a big commitment to staying in the community for the long-haul). His politicizing the race along party lines and using scare tactics and other professional campaign tricks which I personally find inappropriate in local races. And his day-job as a paid political lobbyist within the building industry who lobbied for the ridiculous Park Station project at 18 stories, plus the recent discloser of over $16,000 of donations to his campaign from developers is worrying. Combine this with Bill Baber who is another building industry professional lobbyist already on the council plus Alessio who is a building industry lawyer and that’s a majority pro-development block of votes that could be extremely powerful. I’m afraid that he is using this as a launch pad for a further political career and to show his big-wig donors he’s the guy they can count on when he runs for higher office – leaving La Mesa high and dry as he moves on and we’re stuck with the aftermath of any decisions for decades to come. Just my two cents.

Sometimes

Some of these responses sound more like script out of David Milch's "Deadwood" rather than the La Mesa we all love. If Mr. Parent grew up here I think this qualifies him on the citizenship check box. Future aspirations? I hope he has them if that's what calls to him. We "right now" have his "more than most" experience to tap into. Would be a damn shame not to add Mr Parent's untarnished but relatively prolific career to our historic La Mesa Council's long and distinguished Council Person history. Im very happy to see that he threw his hat in the ring!

Crime rates

This was mentioned by the previous police chief last year. The FBI has mandated a change to the rape definition for the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. Additional information regarding the broadened definition of rape can be found at http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/ucr.htm. California law enforcement agencies were required by the California Department of Justice to begin reporting based on the new definition by January 1, 2015. Effective this date, totals for rape, aggravated assaults, violent crime totals, and the crime index totals are impacted. Crime statistics in these categories should not be compared to previous years. Doing so is misleading

Time to set guidelines for city council? Yeah, not a good idea.

Very interesting. I'm for fresh ideas and moving forward. If someone cares enough about a city, they need to own a home, live in the city for decades and pretty much settle in to the usual same-ol' same ol' mentality to make policy? If that's the case, time to add those limitations to running for city council. In fact, let's build a wall and keep anyone new from moving in to La Mesa who decides to rent instead of own. (In response to another commenter.) Here's the deal folks, time marches on and things change. No one, and I do mean no one, should be allowed to serve for more than two 4-year terms in any form of representation. And if Colin Parent is what it takes to stir things up, then so be it. My favorite part of this article, Parent stated about the crime going up and Alessio said that it didn't. Huh? Isn't that what the city report stated? Uh, okay. In the end, younger council members always rattle the cages of the old-timers. In the meantime, fellow La Mesans, settle in to your stagnation. BTW, whoever serves on the council, how about figuring out how to fix the intersection at Jackson and Grossmont Blvd by the I-8 off ramp? That intersection is poised to kill someone, both pedestrians and drivers. And figure out how to deal with the scary homeless too. Oh wait, I'm a renter. Am I allowed to comment? :/

Sometimes & Time to Set Guidelines

Sorry folks, but I think you're off the mark on this. New ideas? The Council and Mayor positions have changed dramatically over the past 4 years. We got "new blood" on the Council, but it's not the correct "new blood", I suppose. I suspect that if the newcomer wasn't ideologically aligned with those who want to wave off the newcomer factor, it would be huge deal. I also suspect that those championing "new ideas" all of a sudden were the same folks supporting the former mayor's upteenth term in office two years ago. "New ideas", by the way, are not the exclusive province of the City Council. And I'm struggling to think of what new ideas have been presented by Colin Parent....high density housing near the trolley lines? Not a new idea. Colin Parent didn't grow up in La Mesa. He grew up in "east county' outside of La Mesa. He's brand new to La Mesa, specifically. Maybe that's not a distinction to some, but it is to me. No one is saying that La Mesans who rent are not entitled to an opinion, to serve in any capacity they wish. I'm not saying anyone should be prohibited from running for office until they've lived here "x" number of years or until they buy a house No need to take this personally. I am suggesting that voters take these factors into consideration. If ultimately this isn't a factor and it's all okay with a majority of voters in La Mesa, then perhaps there are a couple people out there living in some other part of San Diego County or other areas of California who would like to be our mayor in 2018. Maybe they're looking for a place to live in our city right now?

Too New to La Mesa

As a 34 year resident of La Mesa (homeowner for 31 years), I am concerned about people running for top offices in our city who moved here very recently, as Colin Parent has. 18 months & renting (vs owing) a home in La Mesa are two "red flags". There is no investment here on his part. That his father ran the company that supplies gas & electric to La Mesa is quite irrelevant. If Colin wishes to serve the people of La Mesa, he should join some local associations (maybe help get "a Village association" he mentions off the ground?), apply to & serve on a commission, etc. I am concerned that La Mesa is just a stepping stone for him to bigger & better things. In four years, or sooner if something enticing to him arises, he may be gone with La Mesa stuck with his ideas that didn't pan out. One of the accountability factors in local government service is that people who have served will have to live in the city they create. I am not convinced this is the case with this office-seeker.

Too much outside money!

I don't like the $60,000 of outside special interest money being used to buy a council seat. http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/hefty-donations-flow-la-mesa-council-races