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Taking A Moment To Remember Korea
LA MESA -- No matter how many times the City Council starts a meeting with a salute to veterans, it never seems to get old.
Perhaps it is the age of the veterans -- in most cases seventy years removed from the events of their youth that made them veterans. Or maybe it is the unstated but evident fact that these gentlemen are quickly leaving us.
But the salute to veterans that began Tuesday's meeting -- it was Korean War vets this time -- was just as poignant as the previous gatherings of representatives from The Greatest Generation.
One by one the veterans rose and quickly traced long history's in La Mesa, each interrupted by service in Korea, now 60 years ago. Somehow their accomplishments, the mix of adventure and bravery, grow in stature even as they become physically smaller and frailer.
City Councilman Dave Allan, who has arranged veteran salutes for Pearl Harbor and World War II, is also driving interest in a dedication planned in June that will designate a portion of Fletcher Parkway as a Veteran's Memorial. Monument signs are currently under construction.
If the veteran's celebration at the meeting was the real -- and it was -- the rest of Tuesday's meeting had a more surreal feel, more quirky than substantive.
The meeting actually began with a salute to the Prettiest Generation, with Mayor Art Madrid holding court with the once and current Miss La Mesas (right). Flowers, smiles, waves and a promise to support city charities. The most tiaras at a City Council meeting since the days Laura Lothian and her fans would attend.
Then Bill Jaynes, a downtown business owner who has sort of made a name for himself recently by showing up at almost every gathering of public officials and scolding them, made his bi-weekly appearance. This week's complaint centered on Jaynes' accusation that the city officials summarily moved the location of the weekly farmer's market to punish downtown merchants for complaining about the city's support for establishing a downtown Property-Based Improvement District.
Not so, the city's ever-patient City Manager David Witt, privately reponded later. The market was moved to a bigger location, still located just across Spring Street and well within striking distance of other local merchants, some of whom have expressed concerns and support about the PBID project.
Rather, Witt said, the move was made to reduce parking problems that undoubtedly would happen during planned construction projects along La Mesa Boulevard. The new location, he added, would allow the market to expand and add more vendors, something the market's management has wanted for some time.
The council meeting then moved relatively quickly through a discussion of the distribution of federal funds that may or may not be coming to the city and may or may not be reduced by budget wrangling in Washington.
Council expressed a desire to keep local distribution of those funds as close to "status quo'' as possible.
And then council members reviewed their own subcommittee reports and Councilwoman Ruth Sterling, ever the populist, asked city staff whether the recent traumas in Japan has the city reviewing the ability of city buildings to survive earthquake and tsunami damage.
There was little discussion of the tsunami threat here in the Jewel of the Hills, but Sterling was assured the city buildings have been built to resist earthquakes or have been retrofitted.
The council meets again this week, on Thursday at the Fire Station on Allison, to conduct its annual stategy and planning effort.