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Twenty Minutes With Dr. A
LA MESA -- Both Mark Arapostathis and Mayor Art Madrid were asked to sit for on-camera interviews with La Mesa Today.
Arapostathis, a current City Council member, agreed. Madrid, saying he preferred a face-to-face debate format, demurred.
The video above, filmed at O'Dunn's Fine Art gallery on La Mesa Boulevard, presents Arapostathis' life in La Mesa, his reason for running for mayor at this time and outlines his belief that his collegial, collaborative style will bring a new tone and effectiveness to the leadership of the city. He cited what he said was Madrid's negative campaigning as his reason for denying the mayor the debate format.
Arapostathis, a full-time teacher at La Mesa Arts Academy and director of the Peter Pan Jr. Theater and C. Hook Theater groups also discussed how he could balance the mayoral duties in what can look like a very full life already. Arapostathis said constant engagement in the community is a critical component of being a good mayor and that it is the engaged members of the community that make change happen.
By Chris Lavin
La Mesa Today Editor
LA MESA -- In a usual month, the City Council meeting is where you might come to measure the activity running through the fault lines of local politics. The dust ups between council members this past year or so have been frequent and often did measure on the political Richter scale.
But Tuesday night's meeting was a reminder of how elections impact everything. Here, the mayor and council, some involved in pretty heavy hand-to-hand combat on the political road these days, gathered almost to take a break, it seemed, and execute some routine business.
They bought a new police command truck, talked a bit about nuisance handbills landing on local lawns and made a few announcements about upcoming public events and committee activities. No angst, no fights, just the people's small town business.
In many ways, that scene contrasts sharply with the election campaign that has less than a week to go before decision night. Long-time political watchers in the Jewel of the Hills can't remember a campaign that has seemed to get so personal. Mailings -- anonymous and otherwise -- have filtered into boxes all over town. Great complaints and assertions are fashioned out of the thinnest of facts presented without benefit of balance, fairness or context. There are charges of whisper campaigns attempting to play to stereotypes and fears.
On the new electronic, Internet-based battlegrounds, the tone and untethered debate can swerve wildly from solid, community discussion to personal, almost bullying tactics, particularly where anonymity can shield the…Continue
LA MESA -- After 14 years of three-times a year racing events, the Soap Box Derby will cross its own finish line in La Mesa this weekend.
The La Mesa Kiwanis Club, the main sponsor and organizer of the races, voted recently to end its sponsorship of the event, citing other priorities the club membership wanted to pursue.
Steve Blake, the lone "yes vote" for continuing the races said other club priorities needed attention and, after 12 years, the interest from La Mesa families in the racing events seemed to be waning.
"It took a lot out of a few people that did most of the work on these events,'' Blake said. "I'm still hoping some sponsor will step forward, but if not, these races will be our last.''
Blake said the recent sale of the Drew Ford car dealership to the Penske auto group has also left the perpetual sponsorship of the Soap Box events that Drew Ford supported in some doubt as well.
Soap Box Derby is a national racing program in which fathers, sons and daughters build and race the cars at events throughout the region in hopes of winning enough to earn a spot in the national races held each summer in Akron, Ohio.
La Mesa has had some national racers over the years, but now locals interested in this sport will need to go to San Diego, where the races will continue with a local club there.
The Soap Box Derby racing in La Mesa (see video below) has taken place on a steady downslope that extends much of the length of the La Mesa…
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Hidden Gems On Grossmont Summit
LA MESA -- Along the north slope of Mt. Helix, facing El Capitan and Grossmont High School, a labyrinth of narrow streets was carved into the granite hillsides over the last century.
There, on lots literally strewn with granite boulders, are some of the most unique homes in San Diego County. French Country, Mid-Century Modern, story-book like structures that, because of the steep slopes and rough topography, can live virtually side-by-side without seeing one another or clashing.
The La Mesa Historic Home Tour returns to this Grossmont Summit for the second time in just a few years, yet the selection of homes continues to amaze.
One home features classic granite work, the blocks of which were literally carved from boulders on the homes' property by the same craftsman who built the original Grossmont High School.
Another home, perched so precariously, or so it seems, high atop Grossmont Summit, features a boulder that serves as a mausoleum for Ed and Mary Fletcher, the couple who were the pioneering developers of Mt. Helix and environs.
Wear comfortable, stable shoes this year as complete appreciation of these properties will require a bit of stair climbing. The homes and their views are well worth a little climbing after the trolley drops you off.
Don't consider driving yourself to the locations this year. The roads are beyond winding and narrow and parking at virtually all of the homes is non-existent. Tour ticket holders will reach the homes via the complementary Old Town Trolleys provided with…Continue
LA MESA -- Police charged a local man after fire did more than $250,000 damage to his residence Friday night.
On October 24 at 11:42 p.m., police and firefighters responded to a residential structure fire in the 6700 block of Rolando Knolls Drive, La Mesa. Heartland Fire & Rescue crews from La Mesa and Lemon Grove engine companies, with assistance from San Diego Fire engine companies, arrived on scene and discovered heavy fire and smoke coming from the garage of a residence. Eight adult residents were safely evacuated from the residence and fire crews quickly contained and stopped the fire. There were no injuries to the residents or emergency personnel.
Arson Investigators from Heartland Fire & Rescue and the La Mesa Police Department began investigating the cause of the fire and quickly determined it to be arson related. Through their collaborative efforts, the Arson Investigators from both agencies identified one of the residents as a person of interest.
Brad Bach, 58, of La Mesa was subsequently arrested and booked into County Jail early this morning on a charge of arson of an inhabited structure.
Heartland Fire & Rescue has estimated the damage to the structure and contents at approximately $260,000. The Red Cross assisted the seven residents who were displaced by the fire.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the La Mesa Police Department or Heartland Fire & Rescue. You may also call Crime Stoppers’ anonymous toll-free tip line (888) 580-TIPS (or www.sdcrimestoppers.com). You can remain anonymous, and be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 for…Continue
LA MESA -- The impressive work of painter Wade Cline is even more impressive when seen together on one wall -- as Shannon O'Dunn has presented them in her new gallery show, Light Thickens.
Residents gathering for Friday night's opening were uniformly complimentary of the scenes and the technique the painter brought to his works on the many urban scenes of central San Diego.
The show will be up for several weeks. We recommend stopping in and experiencing the full effect of day long evening.
O'Dunn Fine Art is located along the newly renovated portion of La Mesa Boulevard, in the Village.
Case Highlights: On Wednesday October 15, 2014, the La Mesa Police received call of a burglary that had occurred at the condo community at 4800 Williamsburg Lane. Between 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 12th and 8:00 a.m. on Monday, October 13th, unknown suspect(s) gained entry to a laundry room of the complex and removed the coin box from a washing machine. There is no suspect description at this time. 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 www.sdcrimestoppers.com). You can remain anonymous, and be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 for information in this case.
Traffic Information: Walking Safely With Your Child To School.
Walking to school with your child is a great and healthy way to spend time together. Use this time to teach your child how to be a safe pedestrian.
Your child should walk with you or another responsible adult, and a group of other children, whenever possible.
To be seen more easily by oncoming traffic, children should walk on a sidewalk when one is available, or they should walk facing traffic if there is no sidewalk. Your child should also wear bright-colored clothing to be more visible to cars. If children have to walk at night, they should carry flashlights.
Use Caution When Crossing.
Children nine or younger should always cross the street with an adult. The safest place for your child to cross the…
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LA MESA -- Guy McWhirter, one of five City Council candidates, has acknowledged helping bankroll a portion of the largely unsigned negative campaign mailings that have targeted candidate Mary England in recent weeks.
Questioned by La Mesa Today about a $5,000 contribution he made to the Public Safety Advocates organization that paid for and circulated the critical mailings, McWhirter acknowledged the funds were intended to help "differentiate the candidates and even the playing field.''
McWhirter said he doesn't like "negative politics'' so he kept his name off the mailing, but felt it was necessary to draw what he says is a clear distinction between England, a relative new resident of La Mesa, and the other candidates, including himself, who have much longer tenures in the Jewel of the Hills.
"I like Mary England,'' he said Thursday. "But I just don't think it is right to move to La Mesa and run for City Council. She has name recognition, but for people like me, with 30 years of public service, I felt we needed to even the playing field.''
England heads the La Mesa Chamber and often refers to her years of working for the business community here, though she was officially a resident of Lemon Grove, where she served as a City Council member there.
McWhirter cited his relative newcomer status to political campaigning and said he was directed by others he would not name to use the Public Safety Advocates group to aid him in his efforts in La Mesa. Calls to Public Safety Advocates' treasurer are referred to a political consultant who did not return calls for…Continue
LA MESA -- When you walk through an art gallery, you know when your eye hits a painting that conveys more than the sum of its parts.
The work of San Diego artist Wade Cline is exactly that. Like a Monet or a Seurat, when you see Cline's painting, you know it is his. Immediately. Cline's examination of urban life through the fading light of day is both disquieting and comforting. You find yourself wanting to refocus your eyes, to see through the haze and murk, and then you realize that is exactly what the artist wants you to do. That is what much of our day's include.
In a show that is a virtual metaphor for where his life is at right now, a collection of Cline's work will be shown at O'Dunn's Fine Art on La Mesa Boulevard starting Friday night, with music, food and, perhaps, a visit with the painter himself.
Cline is older now, perhaps past the time when new paintings will come, but the collection of scenes from throughout San Diego's Hillcrest area that Shannon O'Dunn has gathered for this show is truly a celebration of a local talent whose fame will probably one day reach far beyond San Diego.
O'Dunn is calling this show "Light Thickens" from Shakespeare's quote:
Light thickens; and the crow
Makes wing to the rooky wood.
Good things of day begin to droop and drowse,
While night's black agents to their preys do rouse.
O'Dunn's openings are always fun, eclectic events with good food and music. Friday's event at 8325 La Mesa Boulevard runs from 5 to 9 p.m. Paintings are reasonably priced.
Click on the photos in this story to see larger, more enjoyable presentations of…Continue
LA MESA -- With less than two weeks to go to election day, things are turning a bit rough in the Jewel of the Hills.
The mailer drew instant condemnation from City Council member Mark Arapostathis.
"His claims are simply untrue,'' Arapostathis said.
And the tactic stirred some instant rebuke from local residents, including one U.S. Marine who expressed grave disappointment in Madrid for turning to negative attacks.
In a letter he described as talking "Marine to Marine,'' local resident Bryan Loorya wrote to Madrid, who also served in the Marine Corps, saying:
"Quite frankly, campaign material entitled, "The Real Dr. A" is not only beneath you, it is precisely the vitriolic and immature behavior that has so disenchanted voters to historic - and globally embarrassing - lows. Whatever your campaign manager may have told you, I will give you the straight scoop Marine to Marine - this behavior repulses people. It does…Continue