Love where you live!
Neighbors Don't Welcome 7-Eleven
LA MESA -- Tuesday's City Council was a short, mostly sweet affair, perhaps reflecting the looming election season and a desire by some not to rock the boat. The meeting featured a brief neighborhood struggle and some hopeful talk about Bill Walton and the NBA Hall of Famer's effort to help fundraise for a new Boys and Girls Club in La Mesa.
Several residents of the neighborhood on the eastern end of Spring Street came to the council to protest a plan by 7-Eleven to open a new store on Spring Street.
The chain recently closed a frequently robbed store on nearby Palm Avenue and local residents are concerned that a new 7-Eleven at the site of an old service station will draw undesireable traffic and future crimes. However, the site is zoned properly for a convenience store so the council will have to be judicious if it wants to find legal reasons to reject the proposal.
One resident opposed to the new 7-Eleven had some veiled criticism of the council members for not coming to neighborhood meetings on the issue, but Councilwoman Ruth Sterling, the only incumbent up for re-election this year, had the City Attorney Glenn Sabine explain that he had recommended the council stay away from the neighborhood meetings because the issue could end up coming through the city's Design Review Board and on to the council for final adjudication.
Laura Lothian, a candidate for council, was not so constrained and joined the neighbors in opposition to the store, calling it a "liquor store'' and reading a list of the city's many liquor stores. "We don't need another,'' she said.
The council also had a slight contretemps over Mayor Art Madrid's plan to attend the upcoming National League of Cities meeting in Boston.
A motion by Madrid to designate him as the city's voting representative at the national meeting died for a lack of a second. Councilman Ernie Ewin asked that the issue be continued to the next meeting.
Ewin said he is not opposed to Madrid attending the meeting, but he would like the council at large to have some influence on how its representative at such meeting votes on major issues.
Madrid defends attending such meetings as key to keeping the city informed of governing trends and giving the city a leg up in competing for competitive grants. "Dues to those organizations have been a great investment for this community,'' Madrid said, adding "It can die without a second, but I'm still going.''
Without the council vote, Madrid would attend without credentials and the ability to vote.
On the good news front, Madrid announced that famed basketball star Bill Walton, a star at Helix High, UCLA and an NBA Hall of Famer, has agreed to help lead efforts to raise the millions that will be needed to build a new Boys and Girls Club near La Mesa Middle School.
Walton, whose mother still lives in La Mesa, "will undoubtedly help us with bringing in money for this effort,'' Madrid said.
The city's willingess to support the Boys and Girls Club drive, Madrid said, came out of the recent youth summit the council held with its Youth Commission. The young La Mesans at that gathering complained about bullying in local schools and said having a safe place for teens to hang out was the number one priority from the kids' perspective.
Madrid said preliminary renderings of a new club house near Highwood Park and La Mesa Middle and an extended Junior High Drive could transform the area.