Editor's Note: Six Questions is a new feature in which local residents answer specific questions about life in La Mesa.
1. With the city facing serious financial problems, can you outline the kinds of cuts or efficiencies you think could help address the problems?
Answer: Good Question. First, These are extraordinary times given the Federal and State fiscal crisis and they are trying to solve their messes with more taxes and fees on our citizens and the… Continue
Added by Chris Lavin on April 20, 2010 at 7:26am —
Negotiations with the City Labor Unions are starting up again. We need to make sure that this year, unlike last, the outcome includes revised pension plans for new hires. There are three problems with the current pension plans: (1) They are far too generous. (2) They cost taxpayers far too much. (3) They create an unacceptable level of financial risk for the taxpayers. Let me briefly describe these problems as I see them:
(1) Too Generous: Our recently retired Fire Chief is drawing… Continue
Added by Russell Buckley on April 15, 2010 at 1:38pm —
LA MESA – Storm clouds continue to gather over the City of La Mesa finances as sales tax revenues and state budget woes threaten city services here and throughout California. At Tuesday night’s city council meeting, no specific cuts were made, but a close reading of a few key agenda items and a bit of interpretation gives a clear sense of where local leaders are going to be looking to remedy financial woes.
Mayor Art Madrid asked city staff to begin studying a number of cost… Continue
Added by La Mesa Today on April 13, 2010 at 9:00pm —
LA MESA – The La Mesa Community Parking Commission voted 5-0 Thursday night to speed up development of a plan to determine whether construction of a downtown parking structure is economically feasible.
The commission discussed a general plan that would add parking spaces to the downtown Village area of the city by constructing a multi-level garage, perhaps on top of retail space that could be constructed on an existing city… Continue
Added by La Mesa Today on April 1, 2010 at 8:00pm —
City Finances - Originally Posted by Russell Buckley
I attended the City's Strategic Planning meeting last Thursday. It is a good opportunity for citizens to get a lot of information about what the City is doing - I commend the City Council and City Manager for opening it to the public. Unfortunately I counted only three or four attendees who weren't city employees. Put it on your calendar for next year!
The City is in a tight fiscal position - my idea of one way to… Continue
Added by La Mesa Today on March 20, 2010 at 8:30pm —
LA MESA VILLAGE -- Some members of the La Mesa Village Merchants Association want the city to loosen its grip on the money it takes in from parking meters in the business district.
Specifically they are asking that the city use some of the $377,000 in the parking fund to maintain flowers in the 44 planters along La Mesa Boulevard.
“We need to be more charming,’’ said Laura Lothian, who also complained about trash and graffiti proliferating in the village… Continue
Added by La Mesa Today on March 18, 2010 at 9:00pm —
La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid began today’s annual strategic planning meeting with a dire warning. Continuing financial problems at the state and local level will force difficult decisions and may require further consolidation of services with other municipalities. Adjusting to the “new normal,’’ he said, will keep local government struggling to maintain services. His address follows:
By Art Madrid
Today’s workshop is going to be unlike… Continue
Added by La Mesa Today on March 18, 2010 at 8:30pm —
LA MESA -- The City Council took a few minutes to put financial worries and public projects aside to honor one of La Mesa's elder statesmen -- former Mayor George Bailey. The Council honored the former mayor on his 91st birthday and Bailey took a few minutes to offer some perspective to the city's current leaders.
"You never get done with it,'' Bailey said of public service. "City government will be around 100 years from now and they'll be worrying about the problems you were supposed to… Continue
Added by La Mesa Today on March 9, 2010 at 6:30pm —
LA MESA – The La Mesa Environmental Sustainability Commission, a new advisory board to the La Mesa City Council, met Monday night and demonstrated a willingness to look into its own operation for efficiencies and reductions in environmental impact.
The organization agreed to investigate comingling its annual Environmental Awareness Festival with the established Kid’s Care Fest co-sponsored by the City of La Mesa and the Grossmont Health Care District. Such a move would… Continue
Added by La Mesa Today on February 15, 2010 at 9:00pm —
MURRAY MANOR ELEMENTARY - The second and final town hall meeting was conducted here Thursday night and, once again, the issues raised by citizens were more numerous than substantial.
Many of the 40 or so residents raised concerns about speeding, petty crime near trolley lines and both treatment and management of the impact of homeless and group home populations.
Lacking controversial complaints from citizens, the meeting evolved into a primer on the operation of police and other… Continue
Added by La Mesa Today on February 4, 2010 at 9:30pm —
LA MESA – Like the drip, drip, drip of water torture, the fiscal problems hitting government officials throughout California continue to cause a drumbeat of pain to local governments.
Tuesday night’s La Mesa City Council meeting featured council members and the mayor complaining about the state; city police complaining about their salaries and benefits; a representative from a regional government organization campaigning for a voter referendum that would essentially tell the state to… Continue
Added by La Mesa Today on January 26, 2010 at 10:00pm —
By Chris Lavin
LA MESA – Representatives of the La Mesa City Police union came to City Hall last night hoping to force a public apology from Mayor Art Madrid for a comment they said he made at a Jan. 12 meeting.
They left after two hours fuming, distributing a letter in which they made reference to the mayor’s past public drunkenness episode and denying that their criticism was really a reaction to recent disappointing contract negotiations with the city.
The exchange left… Continue
Added by La Mesa Today on January 26, 2010 at 7:30pm —
LA MESA -- The City Council Tuesday announced that David Witt, a 24-year-veteran of city government, will serve as the city's next city manager.
The announcement came during an otherwise quiet meeting that only hinted at possible growing tensions over future city negotiations with its unions.
Witt, a long serving assistant city manager, had worked as interim city manager since the post was vacated last fall. He is known in local circles as an unflappable administrator… Continue
Added by La Mesa Today on January 12, 2010 at 8:00pm —
La Mesa -- The City Council held the first of two annual Town Hall meetings on Thursday night and, for the most part, any fair assessments of the more-than-two hours of comments would suggest there are few divisive issues in this Jewel of the Hills.
After brief words of welcome and thanks from the council members close to 100 residents spent the next two hours raising concerns about minor traffic challenges and seeking more information on city services, most of which it… Continue
Added by La Mesa Today on January 7, 2010 at 9:00pm —
By Chris Lavin
LA MESA - City officials will turn on the mic Thursday night and sit back and listen.
The topic is officially La Mesa's future - a broad topic to say the least - but as with all public hearings, the pundit (that would be me) is predicting that the latest hot topics will still dominate. Speakers can be expected to rail against the mega-project in its early stages of consideration for downtown La Mesa.
Others may raise green issues, including whether… Continue
Added by La Mesa Today on January 5, 2010 at 8:00pm —
LA MESA -- The city council had a lesson in economics at its last meeting of 2009.
It was a sobering lesson.
Marney Cox, an economist for the San Diego Association of Governments, gave an overview of the current economic conditions. He warned the local leaders not to expect the financial challenges to blow over quickly.
"The changes we are seeing in the economy are structural," Cox said, explaining that an unprecedented 20 percent drop in local sales… Continue
Added by La Mesa Today on December 8, 2009 at 8:00pm —