The Measured Calm Before The Election Storm

By Chris Lavin
LA MESA – Tuesday’s City Council meeting felt a little like the last class before a tough final exam.
The professor and students are there, but their minds were clearly more on the big test to come.
In the last meeting before next Tuesday’s election, the City Council incumbents took the opportunity on the cable broadcast to make a few points about their records and clear up a rumor or two that have surfaced at election forums. And some of the challengers took a moment to get a little air time, even if the issues didn’t really merit great debate.

Mayor Art Madrid said he had been hearing from a number of people in the community that there was confusion as to why the downtown zip codes had changed twice in recent years, irritating local businesses that had to redo business cards and stationary.

It was not, Madrid said, a city decision and to prove the point he had City Manager David Witt recount the chain of events, all of which were driven by U.S. Postal management with no input from city officials.

With that cleared up, the council moved quickly through a completely non-controversial agenda, the highlight of which was a quick reminder that residents should insist that any vendors offering to paint your address on the curb have a city license.

That inspired council challenger Ian Shiff (right) to rise during the public comment period in a move that might have been inspired by the opportunity to get before the cameras beaming this meeting throughout La Mesa.

Shiff asked the council members if they knew what percentage of La Mesa residents have curbs and where was the money coming from to put curbs in, presumably to be painted?

No one seemed to know but the staff quickly explained that the curb painting was a private endeavor and didn’t involve city funds or city involvement, beyond licensing painting vendors.

That great debate was followed by a series of speakers arguing whether voters should legalize possession of marijuana.

Proposition 19 on next week’s ballot has raised tempers on both sides, but it is not an issue the City Council has any jurisdiction over. In fact, the council members had resisted officially weighing in on the issue though local opponents had urged them to make a symbolic vote against it.

That didn’t stop U.S. Congress candidate Ray Lutz from weighing in on an issue Congress would not necessarily handle. He argued for taxing marijuana and controlling it and then he thanked the council, smiled and said: “I wish you all good Lutz.”

Two local doctors – Royal S. Magnus, PHD, and Shirley F. Forbing – pleaded with local residents to vote against Proposition 19. Years in the drug counseling business, they said, had convinced them that marijuana is harmful to the brain and lungs and will devastate youth if it is legalized.

Ben Cisneros, the regional coordinator for “Yes on 19’’ argued that legalizing marijuana will disarm the drug cartels that are fueled by marijuana profits.

The council meeting ended quickly and the candidates all melted into the night, talking about plans for election night gatherings.

There was an old fire truck just outside City Hall sporting signs for incumbents Ernie Ewin and Mark Arapostathis. The truck belonged to Jim Wieboldt, an ally of the incumbents.

But in proof that politics is the rule of the day, there was grumbling in some quarters about whether the signs improperly implied the incumbents had the firefighters support.

“It’s my truck,’’ Wieboldt said, “I’ll do what I want.’’

Madrid took one look at the truck and asked: “Where’s my sign?’’

He was assured it was being prominently added tomorrow.

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Tags: Government


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Comment by Craig S. Maxwell on November 1, 2010 at 8:24am
Good question, Joan. I don't know. But I am pretty quick on these crutches. I think I could catch him. Had it ever happened, I guess it would stand as a good example of bullying; but it didn't, so it doesn't. And, no; there is no need for you to take any precautionary measures as a pedestrian--regardless of your stature. However, as you know, fArts stink. Wouldn't common courtesy dictate the avoidance of public places?
On the other hand, my offer stands: I don't want to discourage you from coming by to share a shot (or three) of Bulleit bourbon. And don't worry about your deafness. I like yelling at seniors.
Comment by joan sullivan on November 1, 2010 at 1:00am
Mr. Wieboldt:

I must decline your kind invitation with regret, because I am barely short of deaf as a post. At a restaurant ... or at a conference table ... I sit in a bubble of white noise. I cannot participate in a discussion because I cannot hear the discussion. I would have enjoyed contributing snot-nosed urchin type, off the wall suggestions to the Madrid campaign conferences, but I was not physically capable.

However, I do telephones. My receiver has an audio enhancer. Art has my telephone number and e-mail address.

This paraplegia of the eardrums is terribly distressing for a formerly mouthy old woman.
Comment by Jim Wieboldt on October 31, 2010 at 10:23pm
Ms. Sullivan:

I've been waiting for the right moment to jump in and provide you with some backup. It appears that you have the situation well controlled. If your free for lunch on Monday, It would be my pleasure to pick you up with my daughter and enjoy a bite. Thanks for standing tall against those who find it fun to tear down the community we live in!
Comment by joan sullivan on October 31, 2010 at 5:24pm
Ruptured Achilles tendon. Craig, does that mean that if you chase an old geezer across La Mesa Boulevard again, screaming threats at him because he parked his truck in front of your shop, you can't catch him?

That's pretty bullying behavior from a 6-foot tall body builder. I'm a 5-foot tall old female fART. Should I keep to the far side of the boulevard for my safety's sake?

How about if I wheel up and down the sidewalk with a placard on my walker, "Craig Maxwell of Maxwell's Books Bullies Elders. Thank God for Books at"?
Comment by Craig S. Maxwell on October 30, 2010 at 3:16pm
I'll go one better than Joan: I say that "if you did not notify the city of the existence and location of the graffiti" then you yourself are guilty of having done it! Penance can only be served by removing the graffiti by yourself, standing on your hands (while juggling three balls) and singing the Catalina Magdalena Hoopensteiner song.
Is that understood?
Comment by Karen Pearlman on October 30, 2010 at 9:57am
Joan, i had no idea about that graffiti hotline, or its very cool phone number.
This is good to know, and easy to remember.
Thank you for that info!
Comment by Craig S. Maxwell on October 30, 2010 at 7:53am
I'm so pleased that the Model-T (with store logo, Lothian signs, et al) was, as you put it, "noted." That was precisely my intent! But don't worry,...Model-T throttles are "on the tree." Thus, it is quite easy to drive--even for a gimp like me. And speaking of handicaps, due to my ruptured Achilles tendon, I am displaying the appropriate placard. I hope that doesn't upset you too much. My reason for doing so is to avoid having to "crutch in" from several blocks away. Should the Lothian/store signs render my handicapped status null and void? Does it involve a perilous conflict of interests? I just don't know. Goodness knows I'd hate to deprive our city government of any of their desperately needed revenue; after all, they've been such responsible stewards of our money,...not. (...Actually, if it were up to me me, I'd saw everyone of the GD meters off and throw them in the dumpster behind the store.)
But I digress. This is a very serious issue, Dexter. Perhaps you should consult the proper authorities. I would be more than grateful if you would keep me apprised.
Comment by joan sullivan on October 30, 2010 at 7:15am
Ian: You offer to conduct a graffiti tour. Apparently you have a little list of graffiti and the locations. Have you called the La Mesa Graffiti Hotline and gifted them with your little list? The Graffiti Hotline is dependent on the citizen to notify it of graffiti. If you notified the Graffiti Hotline and the city did not effect the removal of the graffiti within a reasonable time, then the city is at fault. If you did not notify the city of the existence and location of the graffiti, then YOU, the citizen, are at fault. It is a shared responsibility.

"Report Graffiti
Saturday, 22 May 2010"

"The City has an anti-graffiti program that depends on property owners and neighborhoods to help combat the problem. The Police Department's Crime Prevention Unit will take reports of graffiti from their hotline, 619-466-3789 (H-O-N-E-S-T-Y). If the graffiti is on public property, the City will have it removed. If it occurs on private property, the City will contact the owner and ask that it be removed."
Comment by DEXTER LEVY on October 29, 2010 at 5:03pm
Craig, The Model “T” truck with your Bookstore name was noted on the Blvd this morning, it must be quite a challenge for you to drive that 3 Pedal beast with your foot in a cast/boot (the truck is for your use? right). I have a “Q” is it displaying your “Handicapped Placard” (If So) is it's use to facilitate the parking of the vehicles for you, or is this just a way to avoid paying your fair share of “Parking Meter Funds” (THAT YOU SO ADIMATLLY OPPOSE) or is it to avoid the 2Hr Parking Limit (which it doesn’t) or are you just trying to take up parking so your Business Neighbors patrons can’t use that space, or is it just another signboard for MS. LOTHIAN. Guess what it may be all of the above! Way to go Craig! Good job?
Comment by Craig S. Maxwell on October 29, 2010 at 9:02am
Thank you, Jim. You're a model of Christian charity.

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