Council Supports Change To Clerk Job 

LA MESA -- The La Mesa City Council voted 4-1 Tuesday to continue pursuing an effort to convert the City Clerk's position from an elected post to an appointed job.
City Councilman Ernie Ewin said the City Attorney would bring formal language to the next council meeting for a final vote that could add the proposal to November's election ballot. City voters would have to agree to the change.
Mayor Art Madrid was the only no vote on the proposal. Madrid said he felt the proposal took one more piece of control of city government away from the voters.
The shift would also allow a clerk appointed, like the police chief, by the City Manager, to live outside the city. Currently, in order to run for elected office in La Mesa, candidates must live within the city. A number of appointed city employees don't live in the city.
Proponents of the change, including Ewin, see the shift as modernizing the post, which has become far more technically demanding than in the earlier days of municipal operations.

Ewin said the current City Clerk, Mary Kennedy, spoke in favor of the change. La Mesa is just one of a few cities in the county that still clings to the directly elected clerk.  Nearly 80 percent of California municipalities now appoint the City Clerk. In San Diego 78 percent of the clerk's are appointed. Only Carlsbad, National City and Oceanside have kept the traditional elected posts.

"It is not that the City Council will appoint the clerk,'' Ewin said. "It would be just like the police chief. The City Manager would make the choice based on professional credentials and experience.''

With likely approval of the referendum, this will add another issue that will be filling an increasingly crowded November ballot. Proposals on marijuana and, most likely, term limits would join this clerk question along with a number of state-wide proposals making their way to voters for this mid-term election.

Coupled with what is expected to be an aggressively contested mayoral race and two open City Council seats, La Mesa voters may need to put a little extra time aside for voting this year.

So far the election season has not really shifted into high gear. Madrid is still facing opposition on all fronts from his fellow council members and is making it clear he is not going to go easy on his opponent, Council member Mark Arapostathis.

Madrid and Arapostathis both appeared together Saturday at a dedication of the La Mesa Public Library improvements, but the mayor wasn't in the mood for even exchanging niceties with Arapostathis. Standing within a few feet of Arapostathis, Madrid was asked if this was the two candidates' first joint appearance.

"Is he here?'' Madrid asked.

A cool start to a hot race.

 Arapostathis and Madrid shared Saturday's La Mesa Public Library event.

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Comment by Don Wood on May 14, 2014 at 7:59pm

I like the idea of requiring that the city clerk live in La Mesa. It means one more local job the city council members are always saying we need more of. Why export that job to some other city?

Comment by Lisa Moore on May 14, 2014 at 3:50pm

Our Mayor really needs to go!  Childish comments such as was made at the dedication to our LM Library, is not the comments of a true leader, it is one of a child who can't get his way.  The city of La Mesa deserves better!!  I have been a citizen of La Mesa for about 40 yrs., have earned quality in my city's leaders and will be voting for a true leader in the upcoming election!

Comment by Scott H. Kidwell on May 14, 2014 at 2:28pm

"Is he here?'' Madrid asked.

A cool start to a hot race.

Just consider the source of comments from this tired political relic. Just expect the Mark to be belittled by hizzonor in private and in public over anything including intelligence, mental stability, education, personal finances, health, experience, hair color, etc. County Supervisor Diane Jacob was said to "have an IQ of 3", Council member Ernie Ewin was called a liar again and again, Council member Dave Allan had his personal finances made sport of, just to provide a trailer of coming attractions from the man who would be king!

Comment by Kevin G George on May 14, 2014 at 9:08am

When Citizens brought proposals to place term limits and the marijuana initiative on the ballot this year both groups were told by the Council to go through the time effort and expense of getting the required signatures to qualify them for the ballot.

Just wondering why making the City Clerk an appointed position is different.

If the other Citizens proposals were forced to gather signatures, to somehow maintain the sanctity of the ballot, why is this question immune to that system? 

I think the proposal makes sense and I would vote for it, but I also think what's good for the goose.........

Comment by David Stanley on May 14, 2014 at 8:22am

Madrid's actions are so typical of the arrogance shown by most, but not all Democrats and Liberals. Whatever he may call himself, he fits the mould exactly. The collective party that screams "Tolerance" from the roof tops yet practices INTOLERANCE, Bigotry and Racism at every turn, continues its destructive path of destruction across the nation and through history and here in our Village. "Acceptance of all" even whilst ignoring, snubbing, ridiculing, defaming any and all potential rivals is and continues to be glaringly out front at all levels of politics by the Liberal mob. And the saddest thing about all of it is, there is always a massive outpouring of support for this intolerant, bigoted and racist activity by those ill informed, ill educated, single dimensional individuals who, for total lack of intellect, refuse to consider what they themselves scream constantly. Witness the mindless tirades of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi. Witness the "Tolerance" on today's college campuses toward all views. And finally, witness how your Mayor brilliantly shows "Tolerence" when even standing beside an opponent. And watch the turn out of Madrid and Liberal supporters and fanatics come election day.

Comment by Gene Carpenter on May 13, 2014 at 11:09pm
That's hilarious, I have a neighbor of thirteen years four doors up from me that's a City Councilman and I've seen him once taking out his garbage in thirteen years, except for a couple of times driving off in a golf cart. "Is he here"? doesn't sound that odd to me. A very very busy neighbor!
Comment by Mark Cavanaugh on May 13, 2014 at 10:58pm

Madrid why don't you take a trip somewhere?  Oh yeah, you can't.  No second.  The writing is on the wall.  What an embarrassing way to go out.  Maybe it is you no one is noticing.

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