Love where you live!
I am an Art Madrid supporter and have been since the late 90’s when I delivered Red Ribbon Week pledges to his office from the students of Lemon Ave Elementary. I was nervous meeting a public official, but there he was in his office wearing a flannel shirt and so graciously and appreciatively received my decorated shoebox filled with hand written notes from the kids pledging smart choices and healthy activities. He was human.
My next meeting with Mayor Madrid came in 2001 when I desperately sought support to prevent Sharp Healthcare from closing our Pediatric Unit at Grossmont Hospital, the only Pediatric Unit in the East County. He saw the “big picture” and realized the importance of having a place to hospitalize children in our community. Long story short, we still have a pediatric unit at Sharp Grossmont Hospital, caring for the kids of La Mesa and East County.
Art will always have my vote for that reason alone, though meeting a Mayor wearing a flannel shirt on a cold November day as he eagerly accepted those Red Ribbon Week pledges certainly initiated my respect for this man.
That being said, I have nothing bad to say about Mark Arapostathis. His father was my math teacher at Palm Junior High. His mother taught my son at Lemon Ave. Elementary. But I have to ask a question of logistics.
Dr. A. is a full time elementary school teacher, which requires full time hours. Then there is preparation for the next day. More hours. He is also the Director of Peter Pan Junior Theater/ C. Hook Theater, and involved with the La Mesa Arts Academy at La Mesa Middle School. My goodness. Just 24 hours in a day.
Now add the responsibilities of Mayor of La Mesa. (Yes, I know that on paper it is a part-time position. But we all know how elastic “part-time” can be.) So, logistically, how can he be everywhere at once? Talk about burning the proverbial candle at both ends! Trying to be everything to everybody, logistically cannot work.
So my next question would have to be, which responsibility takes priority? Teaching is a full time commitment, and it should be to the students he teaches. Or to the aspiring actors/actresses of PPJT? Mark is the Director. The students of the La Mesa Arts Academy? More involvement. All of these, praise-worthy commitments.
But, what about the citizens of the City of La Mesa? In good conscience, how will Dr. A be an effective mayor when his hours are so tied up with so many other commendable responsibilities?
So, from logistics and priorities, the path leads down to who loses? His students/parents/academia? PPJT? La Mesa Arts Academy? Or…the City of La Mesa? To me, this is the inescapable question!
Art Madrid has devoted years of service to La Mesa. He has never “phoned it in.” He is there for us. He gets my vote for his last run for Mayor, because he earns it. Every day.
Alison Drew – Pediatric RN
La Mesa Resident