La Mesa

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: MT. HELIX ACTIVISTS WHO LED SUCCESSFUL EFFORT TO STOP A PAROLE OFFICE FROM OPENING IN COMMUNITY

By Miriam Raftery

The Boethin family with State Senator Brian Jones

February 3, 2019 (Mt. Helix) –  When Daniel and Stephanie Boethin learned that the state planned to open a parole office near their Mt. Helix home in La Mesa, they took action  As government contractors, they knew how to get the attention of bureaucrats and public officials. In just a few short weeks, they organized their community to successfully halt the parole office near homes, schools and businesses in their neighborhood.

We interviewed the Boethins on our East County Magazine Radio Show, originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM Radio. The Boethins offered advice for people in other communities on how to successfully organize to stand up against projects with negative impacts on neighborhoods.

Audio: 

Interview with Daniel and Stephanie Boethin

LA MESA HEARS MAYOR’S STATE OF CITY ADDRESS; CITY MOVES CLOSER TO FORMING COMMITTEE ON HOMELESSNESS

 

Council also approves changes to traffic-calming procedures, making it harder for neighobrhoods to approve speed humps



By Miriam Raftery

January 10, 2019 (La Mesa) – Heeding the urging of citizens for form a task force with citizens’ involvement to address homelessness,  La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis at Tuesday’s City Council agreed to take action—taking the first steps toward forming a committee to address the issues.

“It’s beyond just setting up ways to work with faith-based centers,” the Mayor said, referencing local churches helping to feed and provide temporary shelter to homeless people. He said the city also needs to look at “how to help people not become homeless.”

SLAMMED: LA MESA RESIDENTS AND COUNCILMEMBERS VOICE ANGER, FRUSTRATION OVER SKETCHY REPORT ON OFFICER’S USE OF FORCE AT HELIX HIGH







By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2019 (La Mesa) – La Mesa’s Mayor, Councilmembers and members of the public voiced frustration and at times, anger at the outcome of an independent investigation commissioned by the city into use of force by La Mesa police school resource officer Scott Wulfing, who was shown on video knocking a handcuffed female student to the ground at Helix High School in January of last year.

Attorney Scott Tiedemann gave the presentation on the report prepared by Barry Aninag of B.A. Investigations, a former Irvine police commander. Aninag reportedly interviewed some 20 witnesses—but the public and council will not be permitted to read the report or statements from any of those interviews, due to confidentiality laws protecting investigations into police misconduct.  Those witnesses did not include the student, Brianna Bell, who was knocked down, and who has filed a lawsuit against the city.

Nor did the report include any details on what transpired on campus before the take-down show on the video. The report also had zero information on whether any investigation was conducted by the school or the school district, or results of any such inquiries.

LA MESA COUNCIL TO HEAR REPORT ON POLICE USE OF FORCE AT HELIX HIGH, APPEALS OF MARIJUANA DIPENSARIES, AND MAYOR’S STATE OF CITY ADDRESS

By Miriam Raftery

January 6, 2019 (La Mesa) – At the La Mesa City Council meeting on Tuesday, January 19th, Mayor Mark Arapostathis will deliver his state of the city speech. Afterwards, the Council agenda includes several hot topics.

Council will hear a report on the independent investigation into a controversial use of force by a La Mesa Police school resources officer at Helix High School in January of last year. A video showed the officer knocking a handcuffed female student to the ground.  According to the city, the student declined to speak with the independent investigator and has filed a lawsuit against La Mesa.  

Council will also hear results of the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program and vote on whether to accept the report, which includes a 2019 work plan and ranked list of streets for traffic calming measures.

Council will also hear appeals involving two medical marijuana dispensary applications. 

LA MESA FARMER’S MARKET TO REMAIN DOWNTOWN FOR FIRST HALF OF 2019, WITH CHANGES

By Miriam Raftery

January 4, 2019 (La Mesa) – Opinions among stores and restaurants along La Mesa Boulevard remain divided regarding the city’s decision last March to move the Farmer’s Market into the downtown village. But while some restaurants report a sharp drop-off in business on Friday nights, the market has been a financial success for most farm participants and for the city’s coffers.

At a November 27 meeting, a staff report informed councilmembers that sales tax revenues in the village rose 2.6 percent in the second quarter of the city’s fiscal year over the same period a year earlier – and staffer Chris Gonzalez advised that the village was the only area in the city to see sales tax revenues rise.

MIXERS, BREAKFASTS AND A SALUTE TO LOCAL HEROES: LA MESA CHAMBER ANNOUNCES UPCOMING EVENTS

East County News Service

Photo: Supervisor Dianne Jacob and La Mesa Councilmember Akilah Weber, M.D. will be guests at upcoming Chamber breakfasts.

January 4, 2019 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce has announced events during the first quarter of 2019. These include evening mixers at Surf Rider Pizza Co. as well as Rainbow Travel and Cruise, a breakfast with Supervisor Dianne Jacob, a ribbon cutting at San Diego Eye Professionals, breakfast with newly elected La Mesa City Councilmember Dr. Akilah Weber, and the 11th annual Salute to Local Heroes and offier installation dinner.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: EAST COUNTY CHILLS OUT





 

East County News Service

January 3, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – A New Year’s eve storm dropped temperatures to below freezing across most of East County, bringing snow and ice even to some low elevation areas.  Area residents took to social media with their icy images.

Anza Borrego Desert Research Center posted an image (left) of snow blanketing the ground around the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park’s landmark sign  The group reported snow flurries down to 2300 feet, with snow sticking above the 2500 foot elevation in the normally arid terrain.

READER’S EDITORIAL: ALARMING NEW PAROLE OFFICE INFORMATION REVEALED

 

Update December 20, 2018:  The State has sent a letter to La Mesa's city manager advising that it has dropped plans for a parole office at this location, at this time, but will seek an alternative site elsewhere in East County.



By Susan Nichols, President, Grossmont-Mt. Helix Improvement Association (GMIA)

December 19, 2018 (La Mesa) -- The Grossmont-Mt. Helix Improvement Association (GMIA), along with the greater community, continues to gather information to oppose the leasing of a building by the Department of Corrections for a Parole Operations Center amidst of their residential community. GMIA and the greater community have sought help from elected state officials, who are aware of the community plea to stop the parole office but have yet to provide substantive action.

RESIDENTS FLOOD LA MESA CITY COUNCIL WITH COMPLAINTS OVER PROPOSED PAROLE FACILITY

By Miriam Raftery

December 12, 2018 (La Mesa)--  Following the swearing in of newly elected Councilwoman Akilah Weber and reelected Councilman Bill Baber, the La Mesa City Council heard public comments last night from numerous area residents concerned about a state parole office proposed in a new building on Grossmont Summit Drive next to the Brigantine restaurant, other businesses and home.

PAROLE OFFICE PROPOSED ON MT. HELIX DRAWS COMMUNITY OPPOSITION

By Miriam Raftery

Updated Dec. 4 with quotes from the state's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and La Mesa City Manager Yvonne Garett

December 3, 2018 (La Mesa) – Residents are raising objections over a proposal by the state to open a parole office at the base of Mt. Helix next to the Brigantine Restaurant in a mostly residential neighborhood near Grossmont High School.

The city of La Mesa received notification in a letter dated November 5th from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Division of Adult Parole Operations about plans to lease a building at 9400 Grossmont Summit Drive for use as a parole office. The facility would have 65 staff members, including 52 parole agents meeting with potentially hundreds of parolees a month who served time in state prisons for serious crimes. The building has only 41 parking spaces, according to the city.

A petition opposing the project has been started online at https://www.change.org/p/mr-steve-lamirand-stop-adult-parole-operations-from-opening-in-mt-helix-la-mesa.  So far, 186 people have signed. An analysis (p. 1, p. 2) created by project opponent Daniel Boethin, a real estate consultant at Trifold Properties claims the site is incompatible with allowed uses under current zoning, is incompatible with surrounding residential and business uses, and would endanger minors due to the close proximity to schools.

PASSAGES: ROBERT BATTENFIELD, LA MESA ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS PROFESSIONAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 20, 2018 (La Mesa) – A prominent advertising and communications expert for many years who later became a powerhouse in local nonprofits as their voice in the community, Robert Power “Bob” Battenfield died September 30th at his home of myelodysplastic/myeloproliferative neoplasms (MDS/MPNs), a leukemia-like illness. 

A memorial service will be held Saturday, November 24 at 11 a.m. at the Fletcher Hills Presbyterian Church.

WEBER, BABER LEAD IN TIGHT RACE IN LA MESA

 

Update November 7, 2018:  With 39% of precincts tallied, Weber and Baber maintain the lead with 27.43% and 25.94% respectively over McWhirter at 24.79% and Myers at 21.84%. 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Dr. Akilah Weber and her sons at Democratic Party celebration downtown

November 6, 2018 (La Mesa) — One of the closest races in East County is unfolding in La Mesa, where incumbents Bill Baber and Guy McWhirter face tough challenges from physician Akilah Weber and retired Sheriff’s commander Dave Myers.  Weber is currently in first place with 27.06% of the vote, narrowly leading over Baber at 26.22% and McWhirter at 25.03%, with Myers at 21.68%.  But only five of 33 precincts have been counted as of midnight.

The offices are officially nonpartisan, but Weber and Myers are endorsed by Democrats while Baber and McWhirter are backed by Republicans.  The “blue wave” that swept Democrats into control of the House of Representatives thus far appears to have split in La Mesa.

YOU'RE INVITED TO OUR HALLOWEEN PARTY! OCT. 28 AT OUR EDITOR'S "HIDEAWAY HAVEN"

 

October 18, 2018  (La Mesa/Mt. Helix) -- You're invited to East County Magazine's Halloween party at our editor's "haunting Hideaway haven"  in the La Mesa/Mt. Helix area (4438 Hideaway Place, La Mesa).  The fun begins at 5 p.m. on Sunday, October 28th.

Costume contest for best individual and best couples costumes

Costumes are optional but recommended for those with the holiday "spirit!"

Music by Paul Nichols and Tim Luranc: guitar/harmonica/vocal: folks, blues, pop and of course, Monster Mash!

Cost: Just $10 and bring a dish to share.

RSVP  Call 619-698-7617 or email editor@eastcountymagazine.org and please let us know if you'll bring an appetizer, side dish, main dish or dessert.

Over $1,000 in prizes!

Special thanks to our major sponsor:

Prize sponsors:  Granite Lion Cellars, EMed Spa, Giardino's, Mountain Mike's, Ranch Feed & Supply, Barnes and Noble, Maxwell's  House of Books, Club Pilates, Prete a Porte Salon, Maldini's Pizzeria, San Diego Festival Chorus & Orchestra, Filippi's Pizza Grotto, Gypsy Treasures, authors Joyce Strand & Teresa Burrell, Visionary Dance Theatre, & more.

Proceeds benefit:   East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts and East County Magazine community news published by the nonprofit 501c3 Heartland Coalition.

(actual photos of our past Halloween parties at our editor's Hideaway haven)

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: CHARDÁ FONTENOT, LMSV SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE ON RESTORING RESPECT AND CLOSING ACHIEVEMENT GAP

 

Reform candidates’ slate reveals opponents used deceptive tactics, including fake photo, misleading claim on backing by teachers, and scare tactic over theater program

Listen to our interview aired on KNSJ

East County News Service

October 26, 2018 (La Mesa) – Chardá Fontenot is representing a slate of three candidates running to bring changes to the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District board. She says  she wants to increase transparency, bridge the achievement gap between minority and white students, bring back sixth grade camp, increase revenue sources and restore respect by board members to students, teachers and parents. 

She’s also criticized an opposing slate for deceptive tactics used in their campaign, including running a fake candidate photo and misleading voters on which slate has backing from the LMSV Teacher's Association.

Fontenot has served as a district advisory council representative, parent volunteer, and currently chairs the school site council. A mother who once attended schools in the district herself, she’s also  a certified lactation counselor who owns a lactation business.

Hear her full interview on KNSJ 89.1 FM at the audio link and scroll down for highlights.

Audio: 

Interview with Charda Fontenot, LMSV candidate

STUDENT BODY-SLAMMED AT HELIX HIGH FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST LA MESA AND POLICE OFFICER

By Miriam Raftery

October 25, 2018 (La Mesa)—Brianna Bell, a Helix Charter High School student shown on video slammed to the ground in handcuffs by a La Mesa Police officer, has filed a federal lawsuit against the City of La Mesa (Brianna Bell v. City of La Mesa, Scott Wulfing, U.S. District Court Case No. 18CV2455 BEN BLM).

The lawsuit alleges that LMPD School Resource Officer Scott Wulfing used excessive force, violated Bell’s civil rights, inflicted emotional distress, and committed assault and battery. Officer Wulfing is also named individually in the suit. He is on administrative leave pending the outcome of a third party independent investigation.

ENVISION LA MESA’S CLEAN UP MAKES THE WEST SIDE SHINE

 

Source: Envision La Mesa

October 24, 2018 (La Mesa) -- Last Saturday, volunteers from across the City of La Mesa took a hand in cleaning up University Avenue at Envision La Mesa’s “Shining Our Streets” event. Neighbors and students from nearby Helix High School gathered unsightly trash, reported issues requiring the city’s attention through the YourGov app and dropped by to thank local businesses who chipped in to ensure participants had the supplies they needed for a successful event.

LA MESA POLICE ASK MOTORCYLISTS TO SLOW DOWN AFTER FOUR HIGH-SPEED INJURY CRASHES, ONE FATAL

 

 

East County News Service

Photo courtesy of LMPD

October 20, 2018 (La Mesa) -- La Mesa Police are advising motorcylists to “please slow down and be careful, your life may depend on it,” after investigating four accidents involving serious motorcycle collisions including a fatality crash in the past six weeks.  “Excessive speed has been a factor in all of these crashes,” a tweet sent by LMSD states.  #Slowdown #drivesafe

ECM FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: FOUR-TOUCHDOWN THIRD LIFTS HELIX OVER GRANITE HILLS

 

Like our sports coverage?  Donate to help support ECM’s sports section!  Type in “Sports” as your donation!

Follow @ECMagSports on Twitter for live in-game coverage and updates!

Does your son or daughter play a sport at a level other than varsity?  Comment on this story or tweet @ECMagSports to request coverage!

Check out our sports section for more sports stories!

Story and photos by Liz Alper

October 19, 2018 (El Cajon) - Unbelievable that it’s late October already, but we’re already on week nine of the prep football season and ECM Friday Night Lights is at Granite Hills for what should be a high-scoring matchup between the undefeated-in-league (5-3 overall, 3-0 league) Scottie Dawgs from Helix and the undefeated-in-every-sense-of-the-word Eagles (8-0 overall, 3-0 league).  The winner of this game is crowned the Grossmont Hills Championship game winner.

HIDDEN GEMS: DELI EDITION, A DELICIOUS SUCCESS

 

By Craig Reed, Envision La Mesa

October 16, 2018 (La Mesa) -- Envision La Mesa hosted its second Hidden Gems event on Saturday, October 13 at BMH Italian Deli located at 7670 El Cajon Blvd in La Mesa. More than 20 participants met Sammy Carini, the owner of the deli, while enjoying handcrafted deli sandwiches, soups, and cannolis.

FATHER OF THREE KILLED IN LA MESA SHED COLLAPSE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 16, 2018 (La Mesa) – Paul Sandoval, 33, died Wednesday after a shed he was demolishing in La Mesa collapsed on him, with a large beam landing on his back.  He was found with no pulse and though paramedics revived him, he suffered brain damage and ultimately could not survive. His kidneys and liver were donated to help others live.

LA MESA WINE WORKS CELEBRATES FRUITFUL TWO YEARS AT ANNIVERSARY PARTY SATURDAY

 

From Maine lobsters to wine slushies, games to rock ‘n’ roll music, urban winery is pulling out all the stops for anniversary bash Oct. 13 from  12 noon to 10 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

 

October 11, 2018 (La Mesa) – With a motto of “when all else fails, wine works!” La Mesa Wine Works opened its doors two years ago as a cooperative urban winery tasting room serving up award-winning vintages from San Pasqual Winery and Wyatt Oaks.  Now the space has become a hub of activities ranging from live music on weekends to trivia nights, classes, fundraisers for charities and the ever-popular $5 wine night complete with wine slushies and frozen sangrias.

“Business has been good,” says Mike McWilliams of San Pasqual Winery.  On Saturday, October 13th from 12 noon to 10 p.m., Wine Works is celebrating its two-year anniversary with festivities that start with Cousins Maine Lobster truck from noon to 3 p.m. and Quick Stop Grill from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m.  Live music wil include the Sock Monkeys from 3 to5  pm. and the Phoenix Band from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.  Guests can also enjoy games and in the afternoon, $5 specials on all glasses of wine, wine slushiness and frozen sangrias. The party will go on rain or shine.

SURF RIDER PIZZA OPENS LA MESA LOCATION IN NOVEMBER COMPLETE WITH BAKERY AND BAR

 

Pizza goodness with an East Coast accent comes to San Diego’s East County community

East County News Service

October 10, 2018 (La Mesa) – Surf Rider Pizza Co. will officially open in downtown La Mesa the first week of November.  Surf Rider Pizza Co. is known for its East Coast-style pizza available whole or by the slice, fresh salads, authentic Stromboli and cheesesteaks and decadent homemade desserts from the onsite bakery. While born in the beachside communities of San Diego, the Surf Rider Pizza Co. brand continues to grow throughout the region, bringing a slice of the East Coast to San Diego.

MAINE LOBSTERS AND LIVE MUSIC AT WINE WORKS ANNIVERSARY PARTY OCT. 13 IN LA MESA

 

East County News Service

October 4, 2018 (La Mesa)—La Mesa Wine Works is pulling out all the stops for its second anniversary party – and not just stoppers in wine bottles.

For the celebration on Saturday, October 13 from 12 to 10 p.m., the wine tasting room will also have live music, food trucks including main lobsters, games, and during the afternoon hours, specials on all glasses of wine, wine slushies, and frozen sangrias ($5).

HEAR OUR INTERVIEWS: FOUR CANDIDATES VIE FOR LA MESA CITY COUNCIL

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Dave Myers, Bill Baber, Akilah Weber and Guy McWhirter

 

September 29, 2018 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Councilmembers Bill Baber and Guy McWhirter are running on their records. Their challengers, retired Sheriff’s commander Dave Myers and physician Akilah Weber, are running on the slogan “Elect a cop and a doc.” East County Magazine sat down with all four candidates on our radio show, originally aired on KNSJ. 

Key issues in La Mesa include affordable housing and development vs. community character, downtown revitalization, crime and public safety, public health,  marijuana regulations, the city’s climate action plan, and a potential new library.

You can click the audio links to hear each interview, and scroll down for highlights. Candidates are listed in the order that they scheduled their interviews.

Audio: 

Interview with Dave Myers, La Mesa City Council candidate 2018
Interview with Bill Baber, La Mesa City Councilmember on candidacy 2018
Interview with Dr. Akilah Weber, La Mesa City Council candidate 2018
Interview with Guy McWhirter, La Mesa City Councilmember on candidacy 2018

FULL HOUSE FOR EAST COUNTY DINING CLUB AT FOURPENNY HOUSE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 29, 2018 (La Mesa) – Our East County Dining Club filled up Fourpenny House in La Mesa Wednesday night for a sold-out event.  Guests savored dishes ranging from Scottish mussels to Yorkshire wraps, also enjoying a demonstration of the Scottish pipes by proprietary Peter Soutowood. 

TOBY THE T-REX HAS NEW HILLTOP HOME IN LA MESA

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos provided by Jeff Phair

September 28, 2018 (La Mesa) – Last week,  San Diego Union-Tribune writer Karen Pearlman posted a photo of a Tyrannosaurus Rex metal sculpture that mysteriously appeared in La Mesa at the future site of the La Mesa Summit Estates, raising the question of why the giant dinosaur statue had suddenly shown up in the Jewel of the Hills, as La Mesa is known.

SAVOR SCOTTISH CUISINE AND BREWS WITH EAST COUNTY DINING CLUB SEPT. 26 AT FOURPENNY HOUSE IN LA MESA

 

 

East County Dining Club

September 7, 2018 (La Mesa) – Our next East County Dining Club adventure will be on Wednesday, September 26th at 6:30 p.m. at Fourpenny House, a delightfully cozy and delicious Scottish restaurant and pub in La Mesa’s downtown Village (8383 La Mesa Blvd.)  RSVP early to reserve space at this popular new eatery.

Savor Scottish foods such as bangers and mash, crofter’s pie, salmon, ale-braised mussels, artisanal cheese, Yorkshire wraps, bread pudding and more, plus custom-brewed craft beers, wine and spirits.  

Order anything you desire off the menu and Fourpenny House will donate 20% of proceeds to benefit East County Magazine and East County Wildfire and Emergency Alerts.

We will also have lots of prizes including gift certificates from Fourpenny House, Farmer's Table, Vine Cottage, Reanimated Records, books from Maxwell's House of Books, a Celtic music CD, jewelry, San Pasqual wine, and more!

ECM FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: HIGHLANDERS RISE ABOVE SAINTS' STRONG D; GET 35-14 STATEMENT WIN

 

Like our sports coverage?  Donate to help support ECM’s sports section!  Type in “Sports” as your donation!

Follow @ECMagSports on Twitter for live sports coverage and stories!

Does your son or daughter play a sport at a level other than varsity?  Comment on this story or tweet @ECMagSports to request coverage!

Check out our sports section for more sports stories!

Story and photos by Liz Alper

September 14, 2018 (La Mesa) - Week five of Friday Night Lights takes us to Helix for the first time.  The Highlanders are facing a rare uphill battle early in the season; they’re 1-3 and tonight they faced the Saints of St. Augustine.

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