La Mesa City Council

LA MESA APPROVES REOPENING SOME PARKS, WAIVING BUSINESS LICENSE FEES, AND RELIEF WITH CARES ACT FUNDS

By Jake Zawlacki

May 17, 2020 (La Mesa) -- On May 12th, the La Mesa City Council unanimously approved three considerations brought to the Council to aid businesses impacted by COVID-19, reopen some parks, and allocate federal CARES Act funds to help the homeless and others.


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LA MESA CITY COUNCIL HEARS BUDGET UPDATE; PROPOSAL BY ALESSIO FOR FUNDS TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES WILL BE HEARD MAY 12

By Iris Neal

May 4, 2020 (La Mesa) – A general fund financial forecastpresented to the La Mesa City Council on May 28 revealed significant anticipated impacts on city revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council also heard concerns raised by Councilmember Kristine Alessio over financial hardships faced by small businesses, but voiced skepticism over her suggestion for city funding to help businesses survive the shutdown and postponed consideration of the proposal until Tuesday, May 12. 


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LA MESA CITY COUNCIL TAKES ACTION IN RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS, SHUTS DOWN GATED PARKS

By Iris Neal

April 17, 2020 (La Mesa) -- Discussions of park closures and easing of parking restrictions were on the agenda at the La Mesa City Council’s meeting on Tuesday, April 14.

To maintain social distance, the city planned to stream its first ‘live’ meeting in more than a month on its website and via a Facebook Live feed, as well as simultaneously broadcast on government access channels. Sadly, things didn’t go as expected due to technical difficulties, but officials conducted business anyway.


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LA MESA CITY COUNCIL HOLDS TOWN HALL MEETING THIS THURS. JAN. 23

 
January 23, 2020 (La Mesa) --Tonight, the La Mesa City Council will host a Town Hall Meeting. This open-forum session provides an opportunity for citizens to share their concerns, ideas, and opinions on issues in their neighborhood and throughout the City. The meeting will be held  at Maryland Avenue Elementary, 5400 Maryland Avenue, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm.
 
The Town Hall Meeting is intended as a means for citizens to learn about City services, state what they like about La Mesa, how they envision the future of their city, and to express concerns. Members of the City Council and City staff will be present. Additionally, information will be available about the City’s Climate Action Plan, crime prevention, emergency preparedness, and recreation classes.

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LA MESA COUNCIL APPROVES CANNABIS ORDINANCE AND GRANTS TO IMPROVE WEST LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 28, 2019 (La Mesa) – A citizens-led effort to clean up their blighted West La Mesa neighborhood has borne fruit. On Tuesday, the La Mesa City Council unanimously approved two pilot programs offering grants to businesses in the area to improve the streetscape. 

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LA MESA COUNCIL TO CONSIDER RECREATIONAL CANNABIS BUSINESSES AND REVITALIZATION GRANTS TUESDAY

By Miriam Raftery
 
Updated September 24 with statement from CASA opposing the measure
 
September 23, 2019 (La Mesa) – Is it high time to legalize recreational adult-use cannabis sales, commercial cultivation, manufacturing, testing and delivery in La Mesa?   If so, should revenues be used to help property owners near illegal pot shops that caused problems for neighbors?  Those are among the burning issues on the La Mesa City Council’s agenda this Tuesday.

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FARMER’S MARKET DECISION REACHED BY LA MESA CITY COUNCIL AS TENSIONS RISE

Council votes 3-2 to keep market downtown, but have Beevers Farmers Market run the event instead of merchants’ group

 

By Allan Acevedo

 

July 27, 2019 (La Mesa) – As foreshadowed at the previous La Mesa City Council meeting, the banner agenda item at this week’s meeting was the fate of the much-beloved farmer’s market. Its location, time, and management were up for debate because the current agreement ends July 30th.

 

The discussion on the Community Choice Aggregation Technical Feasibility Study was tabled for the next meeting because of the anticipated length of the farmer’s market discussion. The study will cover the feasibility for La Mesa to produce and sell clean electricity from renewable resources to residents, potentially in conjunction with other local cities.



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LA MESA CONSIDERS LEASING FORMER POLICE STATION SITE TO HOUSING DEVELOPER

By Miriam Raftery

July 3, 2019 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa City Council will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, July 9 to discuss whether to consider leasing the former police station site at the southeast corner of Allison and Date avenues to USA Properties Fund.  


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FPPC SENDS WARNING LETTER TO BILL BABER, LA MESA COUNCILMAN AND SAN DIEGO ETHICS COMMISSION MEMBER

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

May 18, 2019 (La Mesa) — The California Fair Political Practice Commission has sent a warning letter to Bill Baber for failing as treasurer of the Better East County Committee to file a timely 24-hour contribution report during the November 6, 2018 election. Baber, a La Mesa City Councilman and member of the San Diego Ethics Commission, could be fined up to $5,000 per violation, the Feb. 6 letter states.  


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TRANSPARENCY CONCERNS PLAGUE LA MESA COUNCIL OVER GRANNY FLAT ORDINANCES

 

 

By Allan Acevedo

 

March 16, 2019 (La Mesa) – What a difference two weeks makes. The La Mesa City Council heard robust public comment from diverse perspectives concerning the approval of two so-called “granny flat” ordinances. On narrowly won passage from a divided Council, while the second passed unanimously.


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LA MESA APPROVES GRANNY FLAT ORDINANCE AND CREATION OF CITIZENS COMMITTEE ON HOMELESSNESS

 
 
By Allan Acevedo
 
February 28, 2019 (La Mesa) – With a packed agenda, the La Mesa City Council addressed concerns of increased homelessness, the ongoing housing crisis, and the City’s action plan to meet 2020 and 2035 greenhouse gas reduction goals.

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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.”


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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.


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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. 


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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.


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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.


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FALSE AND MISLEADING HIT PIECES TARGET DEMOCRATS IN LA MESA

Updated with comments from Councilmembers Baber and McWhirter, plus additional information on the Public Safety Advocates PAC.

By Miriam Raftery

November 4, 2018 (La Mesa) – A flurry of deceptive mailers have been sent to Democrats in La Mesa, where two Democratic candidates, Dr. Akilah Weber and retired Sheriff commander Dave Myers are challenge Republican incumbents Bill Baber and Guy McWhirter.  

One mailer paid for by the Baber-McWhirter campaign urged Democrats to vote – on the wrong date. (The election is Tuesday, November 6th.) The flyer had photos endorsing Republicans McWhirter and Baber as well as Mayor Mark Arapostathis, who is running unopposed. Baber says this was his mistake. "It was a typo. I wish I had Miriam as my editor!" he quipped. His campaign later sent a corrected copy, which he forwarded to ECM.

Two other mailers were sent by the “Public Safety Advocates” PAC in Encinitas and include negative information on the two Democrats, including false statements about Weber


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DR. AKILAH WEBER ANNOUNCES RUN FOR LA MESA CITY COUNCIL

 

East County News Service

July 18, 2018 (La Mesa) – Dr. Akilah Weber, a physician who is the daughter of Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, has announced she is running for the La Mesa City Council.

If elected, she says her three top issue priorities will be public safety, health and wellness, and housing affordability.


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LA MESA CITY COUNCIL DOES ABOUT FACE ON POT DISPENSARY; REJECTS PLANNING COMMISSION RECOMMENDATION

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

April 25, 2018 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa City Council on Tuesday night gave a unanimous thumbs down, turning its back on an earlier La Mesa Planning Commission conditional use permit approval of a marijuana dispensary in the La Mesa Medical Plaza near 70th and El Cajon.


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HEALTH CLINIC SERVING CHILDREN FILES APPEAL ASKING LA MESA TO BLOCK MARIJUANA CLINIC

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 6, 2018 (La Mesa) – Last week, La Mesa’s City Council approved the city’s first medical marijuana dispensary, New Origins, set to open in the La Mesa Medical Plaza on Center Street near El Cajon Boulevard.  But now the chief executive officer of Family Wellness Center in the same complex, is asking the city to rescind the permit.


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LA MESA COUNCIL REPORT: CITIZENS SPEAK VOLUMES AFTER LIBRARY OMITTED FROM CIVIC CENTER MEMO; CRIME IN LA MESA AT HALF-CENTURY LOWS

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo: Councilmembers Colin Parent (left) and Bill Baber (right) release a Civic Center memo without the word “library” (credit: City of La Mesa)

March 6, 2018 (La Mesa) – In response to a city memo on the future of La Mesa’s civic center that omitted any mention of a long-promised new library, Friends of the Library members showed up at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, speaking volumes on the need for more library space.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: LA MESA RECONSIDERS ITS CIVIC CENTER—AGAIN

 

 

Why is library omitted from the plan?

By Dr. Anthony McIvor

February 27, 2018 (La Mesa) -- Tonight the City Council agenda includes a returning item: engagement of an urban planning firm to update feasibility tests for the Civic Center site. Included are the introduction of market-rate housing, as well as office and/or governmental use, park and parking uses in combination with another civic building.

And once again we see a baffling omission.  Surrounding cities – from Alpine to IB – are proudly opening – and winning awards with – new town libraries. Just yesterday, San Diego Mayor Faulconer lauded libraries as “…hubs for inspiration, discovery and opportunity.” But in La Mesa, the long-delayed new library continues to get the crickets treatment at City Hall.

Why?


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LA MESA TOWNHALL: RESIDENTS RAISE CONCERNS OVER HOMELESSNESS, TRAFFIC, AIRPLANE NOISE, AND USE OF FORCE AT HELIX HIGH

 

City to appoint independent investigator for use-of-force case by La Mesa Police officer on student at Helix Charter High

By Jonathan Goetz

February 11, 2018 (La Mesa) - La Mesa's City Council members heard from local residents in a lively townhall last week that filled Northmont Elementary School's auditorium. The townhall forum, unlike Council meetings, allows discussion back and forth among residents and Council members after residents speak out with concerns or praise.


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LA MESA JOINS REGIONAL HOMELESS TASK FORCE, CHANGES COUNCIL MEETING TIMES

 

 

 

SDG&E defends its record on safety and clean energy

By Jonathan Goetz

Photos Courtesy City of La Mesa

December 11, 2017 (La Mesa) - City Council voted at its last meeting to officially become a due-paying member of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless. La Mesa has been participating by sending staff to the meetings, and this action makes the relationship official. Additionally, meetings will now be held at a standard 6 p.m. instead of the rotating 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., and SDG&E’s Public Affairs Manager Cameron Durckel and La Mesa Parks and Recreation Foundation President John Fonseca shared PowerPoints.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: WHY WOULD LA MESA SCAPEGOAT ITS OWN DESIGN REVIEW BOARD?

 

By Dr. Anthony D. McIvor

September 28, 2017 (La Mesa) --The City Council is understandably embarrassed by its serial fumbles on Little Flower Haven’s future. Having the four lawyers who sit on the dais (three Councilmembers and the City Attorney) publicly schooled by a lone attorney from Silvergate Development must have hurt. Most folks can understand that.

But the peevish attempt to shift culpability for the Little Flower fiasco by discrediting and then threatening to abolish the Design Review Board (DRB) resists all understanding. Burying the DRB in the Planning Commission would be a significant loss for residents. Here’s why.


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AFFORDABLE HOUSING DENSITY BONUS, DRAFT MARIJUANA ORDINANCE AND FERRETS ON LA MESA COUNCIL’S AGENDA TUESDAY

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 24, 2017 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa City Council will take up several hot issues at its meeting on Tuesday, September 26th at 6 p.m. The Council’s decision could make it easier for developers to increase density and decrease parking, create new marijuana regulations, and declare La Mesa a ‘ferret friendly” city.

A proposed change in meeting time and openings on several boards and commissions are also on the agenda.


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SILVERGATE DEVELOPMENT AT LITTLE FLOWER HAVEN CONVENT SITE BACK UP FOR A REVOTE TUESDAY IN LA MESA; COUNCIL ALSO CONSIDERS ELIMINATING DESIGN REVIEW BOARD

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo: Little Flower Haven circa 1954, via Postcards.com on City of La Mesa's website.

September 10, 2017 (La Mesa) - The hotly disputed Silvergate apartment development proposed at the site of the former Little Flower Haven convent is back up for a vote this Tuesday in La Mesa. The decision to re-hear the item comes under threat of legal action.


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LA MESA COUNCIL TO REHEAR LITTLE FLOWER APARTMENT PROPOSAL AFTER DEVELOPER THREATENS LAWSUIT

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 29, 2017 (La Mesa) – Facing a threat of legal action, on September 12th, La Mesa’s City Council will reconsider its vote on a proposed apartment complex at the former Little Flower Haven convent site on University Avenue.


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SILVERGATE THREATENS LITIGATION AFTER LA MESA CITY COUNCIL DEADLOCKS ON LITTLE FLOWER HAVEN REDEVELOPMENT

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo, left, Susan Wayne, La Mesa resident, speaks out

August 17, 2017 (La Mesa) - Pathfinder Silvergate La Mesa, LLC is threatening litigation following a 2-2 deadlock of the La Mesa City Council in their development proposal at the Little Flower Haven former convent site at 8585 La Mesa Blvd.


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LA MESA COUNCIL WEIGHS CHANGING COUNCIL MEETING TIMES, APPROVES OKTOBERFEST AND TRAFFIC CALMING, MOVES FORWARD ON GATEWAY SIGN

 

By Jonathan Goetz

August 1, 2017 (La Mesa) – This year’s Oktoberfest will be September 28-Ocober 1 and run by the La Mesa Village Association.  The La Mesa City Council approved the action at last week’s meeting. A proposal to change all City Council meetings to 6 p.m. was continued to a future meeting to allow more community feedback.  The City’s traffic calming program will use more than just speed humps to slow down traffic. Additionally, private fundraising efforts will be launched to raise money for a large gateway sign for downtown La Mesa.


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