Love where you live!
Two Jump Right In To La Mesa Council Race
This was the first day La Mesa residents could "pull papers," officially signaling their intention to run for the two City Council seats up for grabs in November's election.
The first two out of the chute were a familiar face and a political newcomer.
City Councilwoman Ruth Sterling and local merchant Shannon O'Dunn (photo right) picked up papers that must be returned by mid-August with a least 20 endorsing signatures from registered La Mesa voters.
Sterling, photo bottom right, has served on the council since 1992 and is completing her fifth term on council. Her official city profile is as long as her service.
O'Dunn, a retired junior college professor, is owner and operator of O'Dunn Fine Art, a stylish La Mesa Boulevard shop she has operated in two locations along the boulevard.
O'Dunn has been active with the La Mesa Village Merchants Association and played a central role on the task force that developed the Property-Based Improvement District campaign currently being considered by Village property owners. Her official site traces her long roots in La Mesa.
The candidates have until August 10 to turn in their papers and that deadline is automatically extended to August 15th if an incumbent decides not to run.
Current City Councilman Dave Allan has said repeatedly that he will not seek re-election, opting instead for a break from his own long history of holding public service.
With an open seat, the field is expected to get more crowded than it was on this first day. Patrick Dean, who ran and lost two years ago against entrenched incumbents Mark Arapostathis and Ernie Ewin, has attended virtually every council meeting since then and has said he will be running. Local realtor Laura Lothian, who lost in a bid to unseat Madrid two years ago, has said she would be seeking a council seat.
The City Hall rumor mill had Kristine Alessio, a member of the city's Planning Commission, considering a run and late today Alessio confirmed the rumors.
"I am going to run,'' she said, but she didn't plan to pull papers until later this week.
Also, a group of local activists started a government information website earlier this month and were approaching local residents encouraging runs against incumbents. Thus far, no takers on that front for these seats.