Love where you live!
LA MESA -- The year 2013 was marked by much public giving in La Mesa. Time, effort and treasure was expended by the few on behalf of the many in a variety of ways. And it is that ethic that inspired the selection of these three nominees for La Mesan of the Year for 2013.
The final selection will be revealed, as it has been traditionally, on New Year's Day.
Ron and Mary Alice Brady made a quiet but profound statement of support for their hometown with a $2-million pledge to help kick off the drive to build a Boys and Girls Club on the campus of La Mesa Middle School on the city's west side. The gift, a sharing of wealth Brady built from his La Mesa-based construction company, will be a major part of a project that can serve as a cornerstone in a part of La Mesa that has faced challenges.
This year's second nominee also has a part in the West La Mesa revival effort. Mark Arapostathis has enough titles in this town to be considered local royalty. City Council member may be his most public job, and his work as the director of the Peter Pan Junior Theater and C-Hook Theater are well known. But this year, Arapostathis branched further out, helping lead an effort to form a new magnet arts school within the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District. The new La Mesa Arts Academy is about to open with more than 500 students and has the potential to signal a paradigm shift in local public elementary education. Arapostathis, through his work in the arts and schools, has been at the vanguard of public service and positive change for La Mesa and LMAAC, as the new magnet school is to be known, will also be located on the La Mesa Middle School campus. Arapostathis has also been working as part of the fundraising team for the new Boys and Girls Club.
Public Service is not always neat and easy. There are often differing views on policy and sometimes bitter struggles while seeking the public good. Our third nominee, local merchant Bill Jaynes, proprietor of All Things Bright And British on La Mesa Boulevard, has spent much of the last two years battling City Hall. An opponent of the plan to establish a Property-Based Improvement District in the downtown Village, Jaynes campaigned consistently and fairly for his point of view, speaking regularly at public hearings and attempting at times to spur discussions of alternate plans. In the end, he prevailed and a majority of the City Council voted his way, designating Parking Fund money to accomplish some of what the PBID might have done. Some may disagree with his stance on the PBID, but his engagement on this and other civic issues, and his efforts to bring others into a civil discussion of differences, has earned him respect among many in this city.
CLICK HERE to see last year's La Mesan Of The Year.