Sterling Retains Seat; Alessio Joins Council

LA MESA -- In the end, La Mesa chose to support its incumbent and a newcomer whose long service on the Planning Commission made her a virtual incumbent on the city scene.

Ruth Sterling (pictured right), for more than two decades a member of the council, was the top vote getter in Tuesday's voting and will serve into her 80s on the La Mesa panel.

Kristine Alessio, the local lawyer who has been a fixture on the city's Planning Commission, was first among the challengers and will assume the seat vacated by Dave Allan, who chose not to seek re-election.

Alessio (photo right, below) outpaced colorful local art dealer Shannon O'Dunn and challengers Patrick Dean and Laura Lothian, who failed to get traction in a crowded field.

In fact, the size of the field may have worked in Sterling's favor. With long years of service and strong name recognition, Sterling papered the town of signs and kept enough support to outdistance four other challengers who worked to gain supporters and divided whatever anti-incumbent sentiment may have been directed at Sterling.

Some familiar with local politics had predicted a Sterling defeat, but in the end, city voters went with the familiar -- choosing both an incumbent and Alessio, who will be new to council, but not at all new to the City Hall scene. As a long-time member of the Planning Commission, Alessio has worked closely with city staff and benefitted in her campaign from wide support among La Mesans who were familiar with her work weighing local development projects over the last decade. Alessio also had deep local roots in local school and civic groups, which she counted on to garner support that, in fact, came.

So much like the national political scene, when the dust settled on the campaign, there was change, but not as much as some thought would come.

Sterling returns to a council with deeper fissures between she and Mayor Art Madrid than existed when Sterling supported Madrid's opponent two years ago.

Madrid has lost a pretty loyal lieutenant with Allan's departure and finds himself working with a council that has demonstrated a willingess to thwart his desires with more frequency in the last two years. Sterling and council members Ernie Ewin and Mark Arapostathis have teamed up to slap down some of Madrid's efforts lately and, if she proves to be a Madrid supporter, Alessio would only give the mayor a second vote in a world that requires three to do anything.

And in the world of the endless election cycle, the race that ended Tuesday could signal the next competition that, in some quiet ways, has already been underway. Madrid, mayor for more than two decades now, will also be nearing the octogenarian status as his current term ends.

Two years ago, Lothian, who clearly had to see Tuesday's results as a rebuke of some sort (she was the lowest vote getter in a five way race), actually performed much better in her race against Madrid two years ago. Whether these results give Ewin or Arapostathis -- or both -- the nerve to take on Madrid for the mayor's post in two years, will remain to be seen.

Madrid has proven to be resilient and he has said he would like to complete a new City Hall before leaving after more than three decades of city service.





Views: 632

Tags: Election 2012, Government, Kristine Alessio, La Mesa City Council, La Mesa Election 2012, La Mesa news, La Mesa newspaper,, Laura Lothian, Patrick Dean, More…Ruth Sterling, Shannon O'Dunn


You need to be a member of La Mesa Today - Community Website & Online Newspaper to add comments!

Join La Mesa Today - Community Website & Online Newspaper

Comment by DEXTER LEVY on November 10, 2012 at 7:57am

Dave, See another person to assist you in getting the Village Betterment Program VBP started!

Comment by Marie McLaughlin on November 9, 2012 at 7:48pm

In San Diego, BID assessments generally range from $40 to $500 per business each year.  The proposed PBID assessments seem to be about 10 times greater than the average BIDs.  We business owners, particularly those of us who are not on La Mesa Blvd., are having a hard time understanding how the PBID committee believed it had come up with a fair proposal.  Fortunately Ruth Sterling seemed to agree.  I'm very glad she has been reelected to City Council, and I believe Ms. Alessio is willing to listen to reason.

Comment by DEXTER LEVY on November 9, 2012 at 2:22pm


Look, it's apparent to both of us that what ever Mr. Jaynes et-all has or is trying, is not going to work, trust we agree! What I am saying is,  you and your friends should take the time an effort using the info that is out there as a start (now that you know & have seen what the process is), put your proposal together (a proposal that is not flawed) bring it to the Council with the required support (50+%)  present it and as all Business plans Defend it (You do this all the time it's your job) and see if it will be something that will face muster.

You and others have commented on the use of the Parking Meter $ to support the PBID/BID process, for me anyway, I would not have a problem with that, somewhere down the road, providing the PBID/BID is running in a business like manner and the District has demonstrated that it worthy of that additional support. Until that or any other group can show that they are up to the task those $ are just fine being used just like they are.

Don't be Lemmings (steping on your short tail's)  LOOK for a satisfactory Direction!

Comment by David Smyle on November 9, 2012 at 1:22pm

Hey Dex,

Just ask Bill Jaynes how trying to get the committee to modify its position is working.

Comment by Kevin G George on November 9, 2012 at 12:05pm

How's this Dexter: Open up the coffers of the parking commission for the hardscape improvements so as to at least relieve us of our legal liability and then use the annual parking money to maintain it.

Those parking meters were sold to us under the apparent misconception that the money would be used to improve and maintain the AREA THAT PRODUCED IT, the Village.

I do realize of course that this much simpler plan would remove City Hall from their desired position of power. But the plan you are trying to shove through here with the open ended petition policy IS NOT WORKING. A vast majority of the participants are against it.

You don't need a different PBID you need to give up.

Comment by DEXTER LEVY on November 9, 2012 at 8:47am

Mr. S.

As you know the current PBID proposal is out for those involved to see. You or any other person/group should be able to bring forward a new or revised plan that has the signed support commitments represent 51% total dollars of that groups assessed valuation area of what ever this groups District is including; Business Plan containing Financing & Budget plans to the C, Council for its review, this will put this plan well down the road to existence.   Go ahead take THE BULL by the horns & run with it! 

Comment by David Smyle on November 8, 2012 at 1:55pm


You are correct.  I am not saying King Madrid did anything illegal.  He knows how to skirt around the the proper normal process and to accomplish his goals as sleazy as they are.  The code gives him the right to do a personal commendation non City Letter head and say what he wants.  As far as the PBID, it is up to the Committee to reach out to the opposition and try and find a reasonable solution which they have not done.  They are just trying to push forward the same program rather than try to find a happy median.  There has been much talk of just a maintenance district without all the admin frills but that has not been accepted by the committee.  There have been calls to use more of the parking meter money to fund the full PBID as it stands and no movement from the Committee on that.

Getting involved means removing the dictatorship running  the PBID process so ask JW to step down and Art to get out of the way and see what kind of progress can be made by a mixture of proponents and opponents in a room.

Comment by Kevin G George on November 8, 2012 at 12:48pm

JW, "alleged new citizens oversight committee"?

What's the old saying? "Just spell my name right."

Thanks for the ink.

Comment by Marie McLaughlin on November 8, 2012 at 11:57am

Interesting observations in this article.  I am pleased that Ms. Sterling & Ms. Alessio have been elected to City Council.  Both seem committed to transparency in government and listening to the will of the people, which is likely the main reason they won the election.

Comment by DEXTER LEVY on November 7, 2012 at 10:35pm

Mr. Smyle,

Against my better Judgment, I am going to take your Hook, Knowing that it will have a very weak line attached!

You are correct JW did provide the info and write the Blog, I could not  have agree more! I trust that it may lend some Question as to the Creditability of Ms. Lothian and based on the Election results the Electorate also had some Questions as to her Competence.

At some point I will be asking the Mayor as for his reasons for signing the unilateral Proclamation regarding the Fair Trade Issue. I don’t have any drought that he did nothing outside of the Law or his Oath as Mayor, I trust that you are not trying to say that he violated either of those things, If you are you are very sadly mistaken.

Regarding your concerns that the PBID is flawed. Its easy for one to say it’s Flawed what are you doing to correct that perceived problem, like I have said to you and several others get involved. All it takes is a group of self starters getting together putting a plan together going through the proper process just like the current formation group did, Surley all involved know the process (just ask them) come up with a plan be prepared to present it and defend it in public forum and obtain the required written Commitments, present it to the Council for review and this new proposal for a Bid or PBID it may be on it’s way.

You surely join with Mr. Jaynes and put something that you think is not flawed. The current Steering Comm. spent almost 2 years to come up with What you call a Flawed PBID Let’s see if you can take what they gave you & come up with something that is not Flawed----How about that A real Challenge! I know you can do It? 

La Mesa Weather


La Mesa Photos

  • Add La Mesa Photos
  • View All

La Mesa Member Videos

  • Add La Mesa Videos
  • View All

La Mesa TODAY is news intended to promote the betterment of La Mesa and its nearby neighborhoods. We want members who share this goal.

© 2020   Created by La Mesa Today.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service