Love where you live!
The second of five parts.
LA MESA -- If you were going to design the perfect pedigree for a local elected official, on paper it might look something like this: Long local roots. Good education with a familiarity with law. Extensive volunteer work in various community groups. Service on a city commission. Ability to get along with all.
That is exactly the background of Kristine Christensen Alessio, one of five candidates for the two council seats up for grabs this year.
Alessio is the daughter of a local commercial developer, a non-practicing lawyer, a mother of one who has spent ten years balancing city policy, local property owners rights and the future of the city as a member of the La Mesa Planning Commission.
"I am running to preserve our little town,'' Alessio said. "I have always been here. This is my home.''
Alessio sees her campaign resting on three elements -- her long local roots, her business experience and her legal expertise.
A graduate of the University of California San Diego, she attended East County schools and has stepped away from her law practice (she specialized in land use law) to raise her daughter and work part-time with her father's commercial real estate ventures.
She points to her service on the boards of the East County YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club and her work among the founders of the popular Kids Care Fest and the Grossmont-Mt. Helix Improvement Association.
"Between that and my work with my daughter's schools and the Peter Pan Jr. Theater, I have worked throughout the community,'' Alessio says. "When I go door to door and meet voters, I tell them I simply want to be their representative with the city, their voice when problems arise. That's how I see the role."
Still, she quickly reverts to her lawyerly background when asked to take positions on some of the more contentious issues facing the city. She believes the Property Based Improvement District proved to be too contentious to be the answer, but still sees a need for some collaborative efforts to support unique, mom-and-pop retail in the village.
When asked to give her opinion of the Park Station high-rise project, she resistss because the issue would undoubtedly come before her on the Planning Commission or on the council itself if she is elected.
"I am not going to do anything unethical and comment when there really are no details to judge at this point,'' she said. "La Mesa is our little Mayberry and we want to keep it as nice as it is, but we need to focus on getting the streetscape (La Mesa Boulevard) committed to and work together. People ask me 'what about height will you comment on that?' I just want to weigh things properly when they come to us.''
Alessio describes her work on the Planning Commission as balancing the interests of the city, its residents and the property owner's right to use the property. "I might not support something personally, but you have to look at the facts and apply the law.''
Alessio turns 46 this month. In addition to her parenting and her business and legal work, she is a big fan of Savannah Cats and travels nationally to support the breed. If she proves unsuccessful in her run for council, she said she would continue with the Planning Commssion.
"We have a great group,'' she said of her fellow commissioners. "I have enjoyed the work we have done for the community.''
Below is Alessio's official ballot statement:
You can click here to see Kristine Alessio's official website.
The Race For La Mesa is a five part series focusing on the City Council candidates. Part One focused on candidate Ruth Sterling.