Ten Questions For La Mesa's Future

LA MESA -- Heading into another election year in the Jewel of the Hills, we thought it would be good to gauge the mood of the electorate.
While the regular speakers at City Council meetings tend to focus in on a few key issues, election years have a way of focusing the political mind on the vox populi -- the greater number of residents whose political engagement may be less day-to-day, but it is their votes and concerns that will drive the election results.
  La Mesa Today is conducting its own survey. The questions linked below are completely anonymous and the results will be shared in the coming months.
To take the Ten Questions For La Mesa survey, CLICK HERE.

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Tags: Art Madrid, Ernie Ewin, Kristine Alessio, La Mesa Today, La Mesa newspaper, La Mesa survey, Mark Arapostathis, Park Station, Ruth Sterling, Term limits

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Comment by Kevin G George on March 24, 2014 at 1:41pm

No insult was intended Batman. All I can tell you is that I am aware of the the extremely corrosive relationship fostered by the mayor between the Downtown merchants/residents and City Hall, perhaps you are not.

He has been meddling in the Villages business through efforts to control parking meter money, his PBID attempt, and many other examples of converting the Village to his vision of what should be there.

He is very pro business......as long as your business coincides with that vision, if not you will be relegated to the list of sub-business" 2% chocolate salesman, furniture lady, and second hand book salesman" he holds in such disdain. 

Comment by Batman on March 22, 2014 at 12:10am

I need to get one more thing off my chest. Kevin, you think you know more about La Mesa politics than me, and maybe you do. But this is my perspective: If Art Madrid had not knocked Fred Nagel out of the mayor's seat in '90 and Nagel had gone on to serve two or three, or a dozen more terms, none of you downtown property owners would exist now. And very few, if any, of you downtown business owners would still exist. And if you did you'd be paying a king's ransom in rent to a slumlord like Auerbach or Rainbow LLC. Nagel was very anti-business and TOTALLY, COMPLETELY anti-private property rights. Yeah, Nagel is dead and gone, but there is a faction in La Mesa politics that would just love to get another Nagel-esque mayor into our city hall, so they can finish devouring the city. If you guys want to throw Madrid out with the bath water go right ahead, but be very careful who you pick for a replacement.

Comment by Batman on March 20, 2014 at 11:02am

Or was it 1492? Dude I've forgotten more about La Mesa politics than you'll ever know!

You had some good people in the last race, too many. The anti-incumbent vote was split up too much. If this LM Today poll is halfway accurate you just may have a promising candidate for next time. Although to me it seems like a conflict of interest for a public employee to hold public office. That's the problem with the school districts these days. Most of our school board members are current or retired teachers and they are giving away the store to their buddies.

But, yeah, it would be damned difficult to find somebody worse than Fred Nagel!

Comment by Kevin G George on March 19, 2014 at 2:44pm

No big deal Batman but It was 1990. 24 years since an incumbent lost an election in La Mesa.

Do you think there has not been one better qualified person who has run for office in 24 years who was denied serving because of the incumbents built in advantage?

Is there any member of the Council that you think we could not do without?

With all due respect, I have been watching LM politics even longer than you Batman and I get the Nagel thing but perhaps it's time to let it go.

Comment by Batman on March 18, 2014 at 4:26pm

OK Kevin, I get your point. The last time an entrenched incumbent twerp of a mayor was unseated was 1992. Not by term limits, but by a better candidate in the November election. It can be done, Madrid did it. And Madrid earned every vote he got in the '92 race. I remember what he did, he got on his bicycle and contacted almost every citizen in La Mesa face to face. I've never seen any candidate do that before or since. I would support your term limits proposal only if it includes one more item - something I call "term completion".  Our city council members and mayor, and for that matter our school board members also, should be legally obligated to complete the term they are elected to, so as not to leave the taxpayers holding the bag for an expensive special election. Or worse yet, filling the vacancy by appointment. And that, by the way, how Madrid got his foot in the door. He was appointed to his first term on the city council. At one point back in the 1980s only ONE member of our city council, Jerri Lopez, was elected. Everybody else, including Madrid, was appointed. It was a rat hole we thought we'd never get out of. Politicians were simply using our city council as a stepping stone to higher office and leaving us stuck with these appointees who were not accountable to the people at all. Now this hasn't been a problem in recent years for La Mesa, people like David Allen have had the decency to complete their terms before leaving. But it has been a problem for the school districts lately and it could come back on the city anytime.

Comment by David Stanley on March 17, 2014 at 10:00am

I have read, taken and find this survey interesting. I do, however, doubt anything will come of it primarily because of the very persons to which it is directed: Politicians. "Term Limits" should have been enacted many years ago but were not and it is doubtful that they ever will, again, primarily because of Politicians. Finally, the school and student issue. We have many dedicated teachers whose goal is supplying an adequate education. On the other hand, we have and even larger teachers union bent upon indoctrination rather than education. This and these unions continue to beg constantly for money, fight and grab every dime for themselves, ignoring the greater needs of students and at the same time march and beat their political drums to demand continued pressing of homosexual issues in classes along with championing illegal immigration, sexism, liberal political bias ad nauseum. Students continue to graduate unable to deal with the least mathmatical issue and many are so illiterate as to barely able to write or sign their names. But you can be sure that they know and practically worship the current president (lower case) thanks to teachers and their unions. Nothing has ever been done to correct these things and they will continue so long as the unions and politicians control the schools and curriculum and NOT parents..

Comment by Kevin G George on March 17, 2014 at 9:47am

Batman, the job of the Mayor and City Council is to be the Citizens representation to our local government. The City Council/Mayors public service was never meant to be a career, they are part time jobs. When elected officials are entrenched for decades the relationship between them and the government becomes too familiar and cozy. 

When that happens they lose the objectivity necessary to represent the constituency fairly. Then the job transforms into a mechanism to remain in power. Decades of cutting ribbons, kissing babies and portraying yourself as the conduit of all benefit from above buys a lot of votes whether those activities actually improve La Mesa or not.

Comment by Batman on March 16, 2014 at 11:53pm

This term limits thing is a double-edged sword. Yes, it prevents politicians from becoming entrenched, but it also makes it difficult for a serious politician serving only one or two terms to accomplish anything substantial. About Madrid, has he been in too long? Perhaps he has. Is he dedicated to the job and the city? I would say yes. Could we do better? I would say yes, but we have had one hell of a lot worse. You folks just don't remember Nagel. I would like to wait for someone better before giving Madrid the boot, on election day.

Comment by Scott H. Kidwell on March 16, 2014 at 7:12pm

Term Limits are necessary. Incumbents enjoy an such overwhelming advantage on any challenger with instant name recognition. That is why data shows such low regard for politicians, yet such a high reelection rate. Lifetime politicians don't help the public. Look at Washington! Citizens should read and study the proposed Term Limit measure for themselves and decide if not serving only 4 years out of 28 is too draconian.

Comment by Susan Taylor on March 16, 2014 at 12:51pm

Term limits an unnecessary.  Exercise your right to vote in every election.  Support candidates who have leadership, vision and life experiences that would help La Mesa.  If you just don't like a council member or the mayor, find a better candidate and support them!  For examples of term limits gone wrong, look at the California Legislature and the San Diego city council.  Don't repeat the mistake in La Mesa!

HousingWire

In Southern California, New Homes are Rare and Costly

Source: LA Times

New home prices have soared in recent months in the Southern California region, with the median for the six-county region peaking at $538,000 in June, according to CoreLogic DataQuick. And in affluent ZIP Codes, builders are bidding up already-high land values. Overall, new homes have become all too rare and costly for the average buyer. Making sense of the story:

- A surge in higher-end projects has pushed new home prices above their pre-recession peaks, even as prices for existing homes remain one-fifth below their bubble-era highs. - In Orange County, the median new home price has topped $800,000. - Builders have piled in to pricey ZIP Codes — bidding up land costs there in the process— and polished their projects to a high gloss to woo wealthy buyers with cash or good credit.

- Projects aimed at the middle of the market remain scarce, and overall home building is off about 60 percent from a decade ago. The shortage of new lower-priced product is one factor making Southern California among the toughest housing markets in the country for middle-income families.

- While new homes have almost always sold at a premium, that premium has hit new highs this year. In January, the gap between median-priced new and resale homes in Southern California peaked at $151,000, a 41 percent premium for a new house.

- Several factors contribute to the widening price gap between new and resale homes, housing economists say. For example, competing bids drove up the cost of land in prime areas in 2012 and 2013, which means higher prices today.

- Some builders have made a conscious decision to move upmarket because they see more profit and upside in catering to wealthier consumers. KB Home is among the builders moving upmarket. The Los Angeles builder, long a specialist in entry-level homes, has shifted to more affluent, "land-constrained" neighborhoods.

Read the full story:

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-new-home-prices-20141014-story.html#page=1 _________________________

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