Council Will Weigh Madrid Proposals

LA MESA -- The City Council holds its third meeting of this month and will arrive in the chambers Tuesday to a virtual flurry of proposals by Mayor Art Madrid.

As the political season has approached, Madrid, who has experienced La Mesa's realpolitik like no one else, has already used his fellow council member's prickly  intransigence to cast them as opposing La Mesa engaging in regional, state and national leadership, winning a designation as "All-American" for the Jewel of the Hills and had these political opponents at odds with health and church groups over the use of e-cigarettes in public places.

So on the agenda for Tuesday's meeting, Madrid, who is the only announced candidate for mayor in November's race, has given his fellow council members a few more Madrid proposals to reject at political peril, including:

  • Spending $1,000 to help support Miss La Mesa and Miss La Mesa Teen in their preparations for their ambassador rolls at many city events. Council members who have taken pride in cost-savings may find this expense a hard one to swallow, but who is against helping shining youth -- in tiaras!
  • Returning his e-cigarette debate to the table to see if the council will repeat its opposition to all things Madrid or join the many other municipalities who have voted to corral this new vice.
  • Reinstating funding for membership in the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Local Government Commission, two groups that Madrid was deeply engaged with and, in his view, gave the city great advantages in its efforts to win grants and tackle difficult challenges. The Council de-funded these efforts questioning their value and, perhaps, to rein in Madrid.
  • Asking the council to appoint Madrid as representative to the East County Economic Development Council, an interesting request given the mayor's past questioning of that group's value to La Mesa.

While none of these items are earth-shattering, they will serve, for council watchers, as a litmus test of sorts for the looming political season. It is likely that Madrid will have an opponent emerging from among the four other council members. Many in city government expect at least Dr. Mark Arapostathis to challenge his one-time political ally. A recent survey by La Mesa Today suggested there is sentiment in the community for new leadership.

But early polls don't a campaign make and clearly Madrid has a lot of experience in going to the wider community with a portfolio, one that he is polishing with recent proposals that his Madrid-weary colleagues have swatted back.

Madrid can talk to residents who, by and large, are happy with the city he has led for more than three decades and can ask of any of his opponents: What do you stand for? The answer to that question is not widely understood for any of Madrid's potential challengers.

Is being opposed to Art Madrid or being fatigued at the length of his service a political platform? If that's what November's race comes down to, don't count the old boy out.

The council meets Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the City Council chambers on Allison Avenue. You can CLICK HERE to see the full agenda.

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Tags: Art Madrid, City Council, Government, La Mesa Today, La Mesa newspaper, Mark Arapostathis


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Comment by Kevin G George on March 31, 2014 at 3:25pm

"P.S. Kev, I think your buddy Maxwell has a nut loose. Tell him to get over losing to Madrid."

Batman, I am fairly familiar with your politics, I am also familiar with the mayors politics (at any given time) and I am very familiar with Mr. Maxwells politics. 

It's my opinion that you are miles closer to Craigs politics than the mayors. 

If it came to a question of eminent domain, evidently one of your pet peeves, Craig would be the guy dedicated to your side. If he has a loose nut it's the one that holds down his stance on eminent domain, just ask him about his personal experience with it.

The Mayor would be the one with his finger in the air, quickly calculating the number of votes for and against, the sum of which would dictate his stance.

Also if you are concerned about maintaining the Village in a manner that keeps it's small town charm, it is no secret that Craig Maxwell has been fighting the mayor to keep it that way for years. 


Comment by Dino Cowel on March 31, 2014 at 1:27pm

Art is more than hard-headed, though he is, he is also corrupt. He uses his office, when he sees fit, to either grant favors or threaten and bully.

Art is the only East County politician to ever directly violate and spit on the Constitution, and he did it publically. Just imagine what he's done out of public view.

Comment by Batman on March 31, 2014 at 10:26am

Republican and Democrat does matter, at least for now. One is still slightly more frugal than the other, and one definitely has more respect for private property than the other. Although the Republicans have been acting less and less like Republicans in recent years, hence the formation of The Tea Party.

The term limits initiative may or may not be directed at Art Madrid but it is obviously a result of him. I understand why you guys are tired of Art. He's a hard-headed SOB and he has been around an awfully long time. But I am convinced if he had not stepped into the mayors seat when he did the downtown village and most of the rest of the city would not be as we know it today. Art saved your butts 24 years ago and I think you owe him just a little respect for that.

Comment by Bill Jaynes on March 30, 2014 at 5:54pm
Thank you for keeping an open mind, Batman.

I happen to agree with you regarding treatment of appointees to unfinished terms. However, this measure reflects several compromises in response to valid concerns raised by opponents of term limits.

For example, three consecutive terms allows for the benefits of seniority and experience while still vindicating the notion of citizen legislators over careerism. Calling for one term away rather than a lifetime ban is crafted to let us return particularly effective public servants based on their merits instead of name recognition alone.

We think most voters will ultimately decide to support this incarnation of term limits as carefully crafted, balanced, and moderate in effect. I hope you are eventually among them.
Comment by Mark Cavanaugh on March 30, 2014 at 5:43pm

This is small time La Mesa.  It doesn't matter about Dem and Rep.  We are not changing the world.  Just trying to survive as a City.  You don't need a label to figure out how to spend less than you take in.  Dems and Rep and Ind are all signing the Term Limits Petitions because it makes sense.  No one is asked their political affiliation before they sign.  No one cares.  They just want their government to do what best for the people that put them in office and live within their means and safeguard to our tax dollars.  As far as I can tell, the majority of the current council except Madrid are trying to do that, regardless of the past.

Comment by Batman on March 30, 2014 at 12:11pm

OK, I read through the proposal again. I see it is not retro-active, just like the term limits on the board of supervisors. The only thing I disagree with is section 2.4.012. I believe anyone appointed to an unfinished term should not be allowed to run in the next election, period. Appointees running as incumbents has been a much bigger problem in La Mesa than incumbents serving too many terms. Again, you guys don't remember the 1980s.

I still believe this will benefit democrats more than conservatives as the dems do have a lot more money to spend on elections.  Just look at the recent San Diego mayors race. So I'm still considering my position on this.

Yeah, at his age Madrid may not even live long enough to serve three more terms, but ownry, egotistical guys like Madrid do tend to live a long time!

Comment by Kevin G George on March 30, 2014 at 9:32am

Get it now Batman?

The current term limits proposal allows Mayor Madrid to serve three more terms so you have nothing to worry about term limit wise for twelve more years.

44 years in office ought to be sufficient don't you think?

Then will it be time to take a risk that someone else might be trusted to be mayor for a while?

Comment by Bill Jaynes on March 29, 2014 at 11:49pm
Reasonable minds can disagree, Batman. To clarify, however: our proposal allows for up to three consecutive terms (twelve years) of service. Once a politician has spent a mere one term back amongst the rest of us, he or she is more than welcome to serve another twelve years if they are truly popular enough to win on a more level playing field. Rinse and repeat, ad vitam aeternam.

I realize that many people read that Art Madrid has served many years and immediately assume that therefore term limits must be an attempt to "get the Mayor". However, this measure only applies prospectively--there is nothing stopping him from serving twelve more years, taking a well-deserved term off, and returning to become our first centenarian elected official.
Comment by Batman on March 29, 2014 at 4:43pm

Well Mr. Jaynes, the "partisan effect" is and will remain very near the top of my list of considerations. The ideology differences between the parties is not trivial, it's pretty drastic.

So 6 terms is the limit eh? It kind of looks like this is aimed squarely at Art Madrid. And if we do wind up with another Fred Nagel he or she would still have up to 24 years to destroy the city.

No, I'm still not buying off on the term limits thing.

Comment by Bill Jaynes on March 29, 2014 at 1:49pm
The reality is that term limits will most likely benefit Democratic leaning candidates, as well as other new voices. But while we think the question of whether our proposal furthers an inclusive policy goal, the partisan effect of term limits should be at or near the bottom of any list of consideration, except to the degree that the latter vindicate the former. That is, to the degree that the power of entrenched incumbency obstructs the people's will, the idea of lifetime sinecures must give way.

There is some merit to the argument that we don't want to risk losing good officeholders when we find them, but I ask you to remember, Batman, that the ballot proposition only requires that politicians hold elected office no more than 24 of every 28 years. I think this is more than offset by the benefits of requiring politicians to occasionally step back among us and live with the effects of their votes, the reduced need for money in politics to offset the advantages of incumbency, and the resultant likelihood that outside voices gain elected representation.

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