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"Major stores can not just move in to an established mall. Macy's, Target and Wal Mart would…"
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"Congratulations to the La Mesa Spring Valley School Board, our students, staff and to Steve!   "
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La Mesa News

La Mesa Recreation

Posted by La Mesa Today on January 29, 2015 at 11:14am 0 Comments

Pool Opening Delayed Until Feb. 9

LA MESA -- On-going work at the city's Municipal Pool has delayed the original re-opening of the facility.
Pool Reopening Postponed

Officials said today that "due to unforeseen circumstances" the reopening of La Mesa Municipal Pool has been further postponed until Monday, February 9.

This will not affect registration for youth aquatics classes. Online registration begins Sunday, February 1 for spring youth aquatics classes. Register online February 1 through March 8 and get $10 off sessions 1-5 youth aquatics classes! Spring aquatics class sessions start in March.

Officials thanked the public for its patience and said that for more information, please contact Community Services at 619.667.1300.

La Mesa Schools

Posted by La Mesa Today on January 28, 2015 at 5:35am 2 Comments

Babbitt Joins La Mesa-Spring Valley Board

LA MESA -- Steve Babbitt, a Spring Valley pastor and a local web designer, was selected from among six applicants to fill out the incomplete term of board member Bill Baber.

The board chose Babbitt from among a deep and experienced group of candidates who sought to finish Baber's term. Baber was elected to the La Mesa City Council and had to leave with two years left on his school board term.

Babbitt, a native of Carlsbad, New Mexico, runs a local website design firm he founded and also serves as pastor of Spring Valley Community Church. Babbitt attended Point Loma Nazarene University and earned a Master's Degree in Theology from the Bethel Seminary in 2003. His wife Tammie is a teacher with the district.

Known for his thoughtful and easy-going personality, Babbitt has been known as a community leader, participating in a number of ecumenical, grassroots activities in the school community as well as his work with the Spring Valley congregation. His community engagement has included the Spring Valley Citizen's Association (past President), the Spring Valley Youth and Family Coalition (Core Committee), the Spring Valley Revitalization Committee (past Public Safety Chair), the Spring Valley Sheriff's Citizen Advisory Council, The La-Mesa Spring Valley School District Program Improvement Committee, and the Spring Valley Responsible Property Management Board.

As soon as Baber's departure was confirmed, Babbitt's name surfaced among many community leaders as a strong choice to fill out the term. Tuesday evening, the four remaining members of the school board…


La Mesa City Council

Posted by La Mesa Today on January 27, 2015 at 10:00pm 7 Comments

Cushman Delivers A 'Sonic Boom'

LA MESA -- After years of speculation and rumors about the future of Grossmont Center, the property's owner walked to the microphone Tuesday at the La Mesa City Council meeting and had good news for the town.

Stephen Cushman, who resumed his family's control of La Mesa's biggest commercial property recently, said the family intends to reinvest in the center. Cushman said the center is currently extending tenant leases in the center while beginning to look at ways of adding new development on the outer corridor of the more than 150 acre property. The first signs of that new development will be a new franchise of the popular Sonic drive-in restaurant that will be taking the place of the Arby's Restaurant near the Jackson Drive and Center Street portion of the Grossmont property.

Sonic's location in Santee (above) is always busy.

Cushman told the council his team will be looking to add some "mixed use" development in under-developed portions of the property and would be upgrading furnishings and adding a public Community Room within the existing mall property.

Cushman's announcement put to rest speculation that the owners intended to do a major overhaul of the property that might have moved away from the retail mix that generates significant sales tax revenue to the City of La Mesa. Past models of possible redevelopment suggested the property could undergo major turnover of tenants while migrating to a mixed-use -- retail and residential -- development. 

Cushman's presentation Tuesday suggested mixed-use and new development will come but more as an evolution than a radical overhaul of the popular center.

La Mesa's new mayor Mark…


La Mesa City Council

Posted by La Mesa Today on January 27, 2015 at 5:54am 6 Comments

Talk On Big Issues Tonight

LA MESA -- In most cases, informational presentations at City Council meetings are inside baseball, the sort of detailed analyses of public issues that only the government-obsessed will enjoy.

However, at tonight's City Council meeting, two items in particular will be speaking directly to the heart of the city's future.

Stephen Cushman, whose family assumed control of the Grossmont Center property again recently, will address the council on plans for the center.

The redevelopment of Grossmont Center, long the source of worry and rumor, could have a great impact on the city's ability to maintain services and build toward the future. The revenue generated at Grossmont for the city is a key source of funds for city services. A redevelopment plan that preserves or grows that revenue is important to the city's future.

Also on the City Council agenda is a sort of bureaucratic sounding item relating to what is referred to as "in-lieu parking" fees for non-residential development in the La Mesa Village area.

Behind the details, passage of that plan will make it much easier for a developer to propose plans for more effective use of some of the downtown property.

Currently, parking requirements for many developments, keep developers from building because there isn't enough space on the parcels to supply the number of parking spaces current codes recommend.

The "in-lieu" process would allow a developer to contribute to a fund that would, when the demand requires it, help build a parking structure that would add to the Village's parking capacity, but not necessarily on the parcel being developed.

Such in-lieu programs have allowed more intense…


La Mesa City Council

Posted by La Mesa Today on January 23, 2015 at 9:05am 0 Comments

State of the City: Many Signs Of Progress

LA MESA -- New La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis delivered his first state-of-the-city address at the first City Council meeting of the new year. Below is the address reprinted in full:

Good afternoon, it is my pleasure to present to you the city’s State of the City Address. On behalf of the entire city council we would like to with you a Happy New Year. Jack Canfield said, “By taking the time to stop and appreciate who you are and what you've achieved - and perhaps learned through a few mistakes, stumbles and losses - you actually can enhance everything about you. Self-acknowledgment and appreciation are what give you the insights and awareness to move forward toward higher goals and accomplishments.” Let us take a few moments to reflect on the accomplishments of 2014 as we move into the New Year.

The long awaited $5.8 million Downtown Streetscape Project began during the summer of 2014. The City continues to work very hard to interact with the business and residential community before and during construction in order to minimize the disruption. In addition, the Council has provided free two and four hour parking as a goodwill gesture to shoppers. The Council will consider whether or not to continue this for the duration of the construction at today’s meeting. Once the project is complete toward the end of the year, we look forward to continuing this public private partnership with the Downtown Village property owners and businesses.

The Downtown Village is not the only place City investments have been occurring. The Public Works Department completed $1.6 million in infrastructure improvements across the City. This includes storm drain…


La Mesa Schools

Posted by La Mesa Today on January 23, 2015 at 8:30am 0 Comments

Baber Gets A Send-Off

LA MESA -- After more than a decade of leading the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District, School Board Member Bill Baber got a heart-felt and official send-off at a recent district meeting.
Baber won a seat on the La Mesa City Council and had to give up his school board seat. Baber also led the successful term-limit effort so he is among the first group of La Mesa elected officials to know they have only 12 years of service possible in their current seats.
Baber won't be moving far as the City Council chambers are just across the street from the district offices. He joins a new council with both another new member, Guy McWhirter, and a new mayor, former City Councilman Mark Arapostathis, who defeated long-serving Art Madrid in November's election.

Crime Watch

Posted by La Mesa Today on January 20, 2015 at 11:35am 0 Comments

Police Nab 25 Who Bought Alcohol For Kids

LA MESA -- The La Mesa Police Department has been awarded a $21,668 grant from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to battle alcohol related crime. This is important to the city of La Mesa in order to
increase protection for youth and to keep our community safe.
The grant is one of 47 awarded in California to local law enforcement agencies through ABC’s Grant Assistance Program (GAP). The grants strengthen local law enforcement efforts by combining the efforts of local police officers and ABC agents. ABC agents have expertise in alcoholic beverage laws and can help communities reduce alcohol-related problems.
Since the ABC Grant was awarded, the La Mesa Police Department and ABC Agents have completed six Shoulder Tap Operations targeting underage drinking and those who provide alcohol to minors. These
operations consisted of undercover officers monitoring over 48 hours of alcohol sales at local businesses. Listed below are the results of the operations: 
-- 36 visits were made to local businesses. 86 citizens were solicited to purchase alcohol for a minor. Of those 86 contacted, 25 were arrested for supplying alcohol to minors.

In an effort to keep our community and our youth safe, the La Mesa Police Department and ABC will continue these operations through July of 2015.

La Mesa People

Posted by Gobigal on January 19, 2015 at 6:00pm 5 Comments

Girl Scouts Learn, Honor History

LA MESA - Last year, La Mesa sixth graders Madeline Garrett and Julianna Mullen saw a man lighting candles and praying in front of their school, Magnolia Science Academy in San Carlos.  Curious, the next day they looked more closely at where he had been kneeling and for the first time noticed the memorial to Burton Wragg and Mike Suchar. They went home to Google what had happened at their school, the former Cleveland Elementary School, site of the "I Don't Like Mondays" Brenda Spencer school shootings in 1979.

 After reading about the heroism of the two men who died that day, Madeline and Julianna knew that they wanted to do something to clean up and improve the area around the memorial so the community would know that the school honored what had happened there.  For their Girl Scout Silver Award project the girls created a proposal for the area which they then presented to the PTA and principal.  After some adjustments to their initial design they got the go ahead to work on the project.

 The girls spent over 50 hours on the project, from researching drought-tolerant plants that could stand up to foot traffic, to making a landscape plan to fill the entire area. They consulted local nurseries and the Internet to decide on the best plants for the area.  They made custom stepping stones with the school mascot, a comet, and the letters of the school "MSA" spelled out in colored marbles embedded in concrete.  Finally on Martin Luther King Jr. Day the girls and their family and fellow Girl Scouts Taylor Lionetti and Brianna Mullen spent a day re-landscaping the area to showcase the front of their school. The girls used their own cookie proceeds to purchase the…


La Mesa Healthcare

Posted by La Mesa Today on January 16, 2015 at 7:23pm 1 Comment

Sharp Grossmont Gets A New CEO

LA MESA -- Sharp Grossmont Hospital has announced that Scott Evans, Pharm.D, MHA, has been named Senior Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the 540-bed acute care hospital in East San Diego County.

Evans leaves the CEO positions he held at Keck Hospital of USC and USC Norris Cancer Hospital. In addition to these leadership positions, he has held various roles at USC over the past 16 years, including Chief Operating Officer (2007-2012) and Director of Pharmacy (2004-2007). Combined, the two hospitals have a total of 471 beds, 3,000 employees, 1,000 physicians and an annual net revenue of $800 million.

While at Keck USC and Norris Cancer Hospitals, Evans grew top line revenue by more than 50 percent over five years, led multiple construction projects and opened four major ambulatory centers. He also revitalized and re-engaged the employee workforce through an organization-wide cultural redesign, and initiated a department-specific and balanced scorecard that measured quality and financial performance, and achieved an “A” safety rating from The Leapfrog Group.

Evans received his Master’s in Health Administration from USC’s Sol Price School of Public Policy and is currently working towards his Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership degree at Pepperdine University.

“Scott’s proven leadership capabilities, belief in Sharp HealthCare’s seven Pillars of Excellence and The Sharp Experience, and commitment to community service make him an ideal CEO for Sharp Grossmont Hospital,” said Dan Gross, Executive Vice President, Hospital Operations, Sharp HealthCare.

Evans succeeds the late Michele Tarbet, who passed away after a short illness in…


Crime Watch

Posted by La Mesa Today on January 16, 2015 at 3:10am 0 Comments

Knife-Wielding Man Robs 7-11

LA MESA -- On January 16, 2015 at approximately 12:05 a.m., the 7-Eleven located at 5151 70th Street, La Mesa, was robbed by a suspect armed with a knife.

The clerk was working inside the store when the suspect came into the store and brandished a knife and demanded cash. The clerk complied with the suspect’s orders. The suspect fled out of the front of the store and then ran eastbound on Alvarado Road.

Officers searched the area but were unable to locate the suspect. The suspect is described as a white male adult, approximately 5’08” tall. The suspect was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, tan pants, gloves and a blue bandana covering his face.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the La Mesa Police Department.

You may also call Crime Stoppers’ anonymous toll-free tip line (888) 580-TIPS (or You can remain anonymous, and be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 for information in this case.

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Gallup Poll on Top Financial Problems of Americans

Source: Gallup

Personal finances are a major concern of average Americans, according to the latest Gallup poll, but the results show that Americans are most concerned about healthcare costs, low wages, and a lack of jobs when it comes to worries about their finances. There was a reduction in the number of Americans saying the cost of homeownership was their biggest financial worry.

Making sense of the story:

- In 2012, a full 12 percent of Americans put the cost of homeownership and renting at the top of their financial worry. Now it’s down to six percent.

- Below the $30,000/ year income bracket, housing was the most important worry for 9 percent of the respondents. That lowers to four percent in the $30,000 to $75,000 range.

- For those making more than $75,000, six percent of respondents said housing was their top financial concern.

-For comparison, healthcare costs and low wages were cited by 14 percent of Americans as the most important financial issue.

 -Fewer Americans than a year ago cited the high cost of living or unemployment, and the percentage naming oil or gas prices was down from 2012.

-The percentage of Americans who didn't mention any financial problem was up five percentage points from last year, to 17 percent. This sizable uptick suggests that the economic recovery may be reducing the financial problems that families face.  

-Lower-income Americans named "lack of money/cash flow" and "not enough money to pay debts" as their top most important money woes. The stock market or investments, interest rates, retirement savings, and controlling spending did not rank among lower-income Americans' top financial problems.

Read the full story:


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