LA MESA -- Laura Lothian is a realtor who moved to La Mesa several years ago. She has been active in local politics, serving on the Parking Commission and with the La Mesa Historical Society. This is her first run at public office. She answers here the same Six Questions asked of her opponent, Mayor Art Madrid.
Question 1: Could you please list what you consider to be the three most pressing challenges facing La Mesa today?
1. Lowering crime. This was Art’s most pressing challenge when he first ran 20 years ago and if anything, it’s worse.
2. Clearing La Mesa of unacceptable levels of trash and graffiti which I believe is directly linked to our crime problem.
3. Easing regulations so that we attract more businesses and home improvement projects. Regulation, not strangulation! Often I hear stories from people describing the arduous journey they went through to open a business or to add square footage to their homes. It is not an exaggeration to say that a good friend of mine’s life was ruined by the city promising him one thing for his building then denying the license he needed. He lost his building, he and his partners went bankrupt, the gentleman representing the company that was trying to lease his space was fired. It was ugly.
Question 2: Given La Mesa's central location and its public transportation assets, how do you think the city should approach the development pressures that are arising even amid an economic downturn?
There is a swath of charming communities that slices through central San Diego. It starts with Mission Hills at the most west and ends at La Mesa at the most east. In between are Hillcrest, North Park, South Park, Normal Heights, University Heights, Kensington and Talmadge. These communities and cities like Little Italy and Coronado have been growing but retaining their charm, this is how I want La Mesa to grow. I am leery of big, tall brand-new buildings. I don’t think that type of construction suits La Mesa.
Question 3: La Mesa recently partnered with surrounding cities to form a consolidated fire service. Should the city seek similar consolidations in other services, for example police services?
I am all for efficiency, common sense consolidation and the elimination of overlapping positions and services. I would like to hear the pros and cons of consolidating police services before making any comments on that.
Question 4: The cost of public pensions has been receiving a lot of attention recently. Do you support proposals to reduce pension benefits for new city employees? Why or why not?
The cost of public pensions has been in the news for very good reasons – they are unsustainable and crippling our government. When I compare public sector employees’ pensions to private sector workers’ social security, I am appalled at the ever-widening gap in retirement benefits. I’ve seen pension plans that beat winning the lottery. Yes, they need to be reduced for new employees.
Question 5: How do you distinguish the role of mayor from that of City Council members?
The mayor is more visible. There’s an “ambassador” element to being mayor. Does the mayor represent the city in a favorable light? When traveling outside La Mesa, does the mayor attract positive attention and good will? I think the city council members have the same responsibilities but the mayor is just more visible.
Question 6: La Mesa is approaching its 100th birthday. How would you describe the city it has become and what would you hope the city's legacy will be at its 200th birthday?
My home is three years older than La Mesa! I love saying my house was built in 1909. My two websites for real estate are www.LaMesaHomeswithCharacter.com
because for me these homes are not just a roof over your head, they’re art, they’re an intrinsic part of my personality and the people who choose to live in historic or vintage homes. I could look at old photos of La Mesa for hours. I chose La Mesa to be my home because it is 100 years old and the proof is all around us. And though I love all the vintage buildings and homes, I still want my mall, my movie theatre, great shopping and restaurants, the best grocery stores and library. Luckily, in La Mesa, I can have my vintage but modern amenities too! I hope our historic buildings and homes stand for another 100 years!
The mayoral installments end the Six Question series for City Council and Mayor candidates. All installments can be seen by clicking on the Government tab above