Love where you live!
LA MESA -- Surrounded by 25 loyal supporters, some representing local groups, Mayor Art Madrid Monday morning officially kicked off his re-election campaign.
Speaking from the steps of a City Hall that he has frequented in one form or another for the last 44 years, Madrid made it clear he was going to emphasize his accomplishments and experience in taking on City Councilman Mark Arapostathis.
"Elections are about choices,'' Madrid said. "La Mesa voters will again have two very different and distinct candidates from which to choose as their next mayor. Those differences will be the single focus of my campaign with emphasis on the integrity, leadership, values and courage of each candidate.''
Madrid said that public safety -- police and fire -- as well as maintaining "all core services provided by the city" would drive his campaign.
Madrid listed a long list of accomplishments during his 24 years as mayor, dating back to the redevelopment of Fletcher Parkway to attracting the new apartment projects near Grossmont Center and the rebuilding of Allison Avenue as well as the looming redesign of La Mesa Boulevard. He attributed the city's successful applications for more than $12-million in grants to his active participation on regional, state and national organizations.
"The current fiscal challenges La Mesa faces today requires a mayor who is conversant with all aspects of the problem areas,'' Madrid said. "I am that person.''
Madrid did repeat his earlier promise that this election will be his last.
"I won't be done,'' he said. "I just won't be holding public office after this next term.''
Noticeably absent from Madrid's morning announcement were the four council members, three of whom attended the announcement earlier this month of the fourth -- Arapostathis -- that he would be challenging Madrid for the mayor's post.
Madrid's gathering of supporters from across the city, and from among groups that have worked closely with the city on a number of issues, does underscore the strength that Madrid has built among a wide swath of the community over more than two decades as mayor. Among those in the crowd Monday were doctors from Grossmont hospital, leaders of the Fair Trade La Mesa group which failed to win support in their efforts from Madrid's fellow council members. Several of Madrid's supporters complained that they knew little about the political positions or views of the council members that have opposed Madrid efforts in recent months.
"They don't say what they stand for,'' one supporter said. "I guess they just wanted to be mayor.''
Madrid said he would agree to debate Arapostathis repeatedly throughout the coming months.