Getting To The Bottom Of City Issues

LA MESA -- There is a couple in La Mesa who have found a way to make the cable broadcast of even the most uneventful City Council meeting engaging and enjoyable.

The couple -- who pleaded for anonymity on this -- fill a collection of shot glasses with their preferred libation. They then list on a grid likely occurrences, say like "merchant Bill Jaynes mentions the Property Based Improvement District.'' When and if that occurs, they down a shot. Councilwoman Ruth Sterling mentions shredding events at EDCO? Take a shot. Mayor Art Madrid and Vice Mayor Ernie Ewin exchange barbs? Bottoms up!

So it goes in this City Council-inspired version of booze bingo. This could be a liver-tester night for that couple.

The agenda for Tuesday night's council meeting contains a number of longer-standing contentious issues, including whether the city will sign its petition to encourage establishment of a PBID for the Village area of downtown.

The PBID proposal, initially urged by downtown merchants, later organized and promoted by the city, now sits in a bit of limbo as a contingent of vocal Village merchants have attacked the plan -- putting the council members in a political hotseat.

The project is in a so-called "petition'' phase in which landowners representing more than 50 percent of Village assessment for the PBID budget must agree to consider a formal ballot process on the issue. With the city property representing a significant percentage of the vote, Tuesday's discussion could be the first sign of whether the council will continue its support for the PBID process.

The pro-PBID forces met Monday night and it was clear the petition effort will need the city's support. What was unclear was whether Madrid, a vocal supporter of the PBID effort, can muster the two other votes he'll need to have the city support the petition. The city's vote represents about $65,000 of the $370,000 the PBID would raise each year from Village merchants, residents and churches.

In addition, the council will revisit Tuesday night a past contentious discussion on the use of parking meter money on maintenance projects in the downtown Village and will conduct a discussion on civility and decorum at council meetings.

After recent council meetings included some pretty cantankerous exchanges between council members and the public, Ewin felt it was time to revisit the meeting policies intended to prevent incivility. The council will also discuss whether it is kosher for council members to be seen texting or using other electronic communication devices during council meetings.

Tuesday night's meeting is at 6 p.m. and can be viewed in La Mesa on Cox Channel 24. Cheers!

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Tags: Art Madrid, Ernie Ewin, Government, La Mesa Today, La Mesa news, Ruth Sterling


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Comment by chris shea on April 24, 2012 at 10:23am
Nicely written piece, Chris Lavin.
I'll have to give the game a try!
Such clever people we have hidden in our midst!
Cheers indeed!
Comment by John C Schmitz on April 24, 2012 at 10:03am

I LOVE IT!  But will stick with wine so as to be able to stay focused for the end of the meeting.  Nothing like passing out and waking up to the public access channel on your tv.  In that circumstance one might think they had died and gone to hell.

Comment by Scott H. Kidwell on April 24, 2012 at 9:20am

Much like the college drinking game, popular in the 1980s. Students would sit around watching Bob Newhart re-runs, and whenever anyone said "Hi Bob" everyone had to take a drink.

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