UNIVERSITY AVENUE – The manager of a University Avenue auto shop is complaining that Laura Lothian piled up trash Monday in a vacant lot so she could take photographs for her campaign. In an e-mail complaint to Mayor Art Madrid’s campaign, the manager at Jason’s Auto Garage at 7643 University Avenue, said employees of the shop watched as Lothian and two men gathered up litter and put it in piles for the photo. They said the trio also took trash from an embankment above and hung it from the wall to make conditions look worse. A photo of the scene showed up on Lothians website, www.lamesalaura.com, hours later and they said undermined efforts the auto shop was making to improve the neighborhood.
“They decided to kick around the already present trash into piles in front of her feet, pull trash down from the embankment to hang over the brick wall to make the matter appear even worse than they are,’’ the manager, Michele Tackett, said in the-mail. “She had them film her for several minutes and then jumped into her BMW and drove away. Now I am sitting here at my desk overlooking the piles of trash, as well as my customers in our waiting area that (has) 4 large windows that face the lot. If this was her way of showing how she CARES for this community, she failed miserably. Her and those two men could have spent maybe an extra 3 minutes and truly made a difference by disposing the trash instead of kicking it around into heaps for filming.’’
Tackett did not return phone calls Tuesday night, but her boss, Jason Sohal, confirmed she had sent the e-mail chronicling the events at his shop.
Lothian, reached at her birthday party with friends, said in a text message: "I promise you from the bottom of my soul that trash is absolutely legitimate. It's been there for months if not years.''
Lothian has continually criticized Madrid and his administration for not aggressively attacking litter and graffiti in the city. She has argued that attacking, litter, graffitti and crime more effectively will improve the image of La Mesa and improve the quality of life here. Her campaign theme, “It’s time to clean house,’’ has irritated Madrid, a 20-year-veteran of the mayor’s post who says Lothian is exaggerating the litter and crime situation in the city for political gains.
Madrid’s campaign said gathering up trash was a distortion; leaving it there was bad politics.
“I and my kitchen cabinet will talk about this and then we’ll go over there tomorrow and pick up those piles she made,’’ Madrid said.
Madrid and his campaign supporters say they believe Lothian should remove the set-up photo from her website.

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Comment by Ian I Shiff on October 25, 2010 at 12:48pm
David - please note I am NOT running for city council for the money. I am donating 1/2 of my salary towards local charities if elected - something I have states numerous times in public and in writing.It's a small gesture of what I hope will change politics in La Mesa.
Comment by Craig S. Maxwell on October 25, 2010 at 9:55am
Quite true, Nancy. And imagine the benefit of having mayor who, unlike the incumbent, doesn't try to strong-arm his constituents. What a refreshing novelty!
Comment by Nancy Salisbury on October 24, 2010 at 2:21pm
David, I reckon every election is a bit of a crap shoot. Nobody can control the officeholders they elect. But we can look at track records, and if I'm gonna pull the lever, I'm putting my check in the box next to the candidate who I believe in the most. I've lots of reasons to believe in Laura Lothian, because I know her to be a smart, energetic leader with good ideas and the best interests of the townspeople in mind. It's less of a crap shoot when the incumbent has been in office for 20 years without performing up to my standards during those years. Why on Earth would I think he's going to suddenly start making improvements in this town? He's had enough opportunity. I'm going to give the new girl my vote and hold her accountable when she gets elected. Why not give her a chance? I think she has what it takes, and I reckon I've got nothing to lose.
Comment by David Stanley on October 24, 2010 at 5:27am
I am chagrined whilst I follow this local campaign. It is rather like, no, it is exactly like state and national campaigns: Incumbents bluster, threaten and call opponents names whilst they themselves, so ensconced in their personal grab for other people's money and notoriety, firmly believe that only they can "cure the people's woes". Opponents, so eager to be seated in order to spend the people's money, that they constantly hurl accusations and allegations, firmly believing that only THEY can "cure the people's woes". Meanwhile, the people are deluged in a constant barrage of signs, tv spots, radio spots, mountains of mailers, 24 hours a day, non stop. The people try to keep their heads above water whilst drowning in political propaganda, slogans and bull. First, "Longivity" does not a Mayor make. Look at Chicago, long dominated by the Daily clan. Few examples of filth, corruption, lies and theft exist that can compare with outside of the third world that political hell hole and look what it spawned! A know nothing, destroy everything President. So, don't talk about "Longivity". Photos of litter, whether actual or staged, do not a Mayor make. I am embarrassed by the calibre of candidates, from federal, through state and locally. I do not see the mountains of litter nor the grafitti festooned walls shouted about by one candidate in our village. I also do not see mountains of great deeds performed by the sitting Mayor either but I do see much wasted money - Tax Payer's Money. I occasionally see a white haired fellow walking about, smiling but with little real exchanges with citizens. I see gobs of signs trumpeting a lady opponent but, in actuality, I see very little difference in the two. Both want money (that of course is hidden in the rhetoric). So, Hmmm. In my mind I suppose you cover your eyes and pull the lever? Rather a crap shoot, isnt it? Have you seen any towering citizens out there willing to set aside their lives (for awhile) and step up to try to correct the mess these people have made and continue to make? Any people who tell us, honestly, that they WILL cut costs and immediately? Any people who will tell you that they will serve the City and the Citizens and not demand that salary that comes with the office? Any people who are not just in the races to make "a name for themselves"? I haven't seen any of these people yet - in any race!
Comment by Craig S. Maxwell on October 23, 2010 at 9:32am
I'm sorry, Jim, but for a defender of Art Madrid to presume to lecture others on where they "stand" is nothing less than the stuff of parody.
How, for example, does it feel to "stand" for a mayor who threatens his constituents? A mayor who tells folks that he can shut down their businesses, that he can ruin their sales and have them arrested for questioning him about his drinking record. I'd like to know how it feels to "stand" for that kind of "something." This is the USA, not Tijuana or Juarez, Mexico! Up here, we frown on thuggish politicians who try to bully and intimidate our citizens. And when you're finished, please tell us why you lied about a young women being arrested by the police. Sounds like an apology's in order. Will you do it? And if not, why? You're big on "law and order," aren't you Jim? Worked for the Sheriff's Dept., right? Why'd you lie about the police having done something they never did? Doesn't that trouble your conscience? If not, why? And you're an evangelical Christian, aren't you? What about that one commandment that reads, "You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor." Do you think you're an exception to this rule?
Comment by Jim Wieboldt on October 23, 2010 at 12:22am
Craig: You gotta stand for something or you'll fall for anything...like trash, graffiti and weeds! That the best you and Ms. Sterling could muster in four years? Can't wait to catch your show in the next four years. Should be very impressive!
Comment by Craig S. Maxwell on October 22, 2010 at 2:11pm
Jim, Jim, Jim,...what you'll say to defend an indefensible incumbent is beyond amazing.
Comment by Ian I Shiff on October 20, 2010 at 1:17pm
That trash was present before the picture was taken as I live near there and have seen it numerous times. Do you think she brought it with her? I do wish it was picked up by her team, but it's good to see that it's gone now. So, in essence - Laura has made a difference.
Comment by Jim Wieboldt on October 20, 2010 at 11:58am
Fair is fair! I just drove down to the University Avenue lot to pick up some trash. I was informed that Laura Lothian had arrived earlier this morning and cleaned it up. Let me be the first to acknowledge this good deed and to thank Laura for taking this issue seriously. Your good deed does not go unnoticed!
Comment by Jim Wieboldt on October 20, 2010 at 10:32am
Laura, Laura, Laura.... what you'll do to create issues is amazing! Imagine the time and energy wasted moving trash around and not picking it up! I guess adopting a lot in La Mesa isn't on your agenda, is it? According to your website, La Mesa has trash, graffiti and even dead flowers. For the sake of clarity, let's assume those issues were really the crisis you make them out to be, and if you are the "concerned citizen" who is making her first run for the top elected office in OUR city, the only leadership you can demonstrate is to arrange and rearrange those piles of trash into into a photo op with you and your sign? And by the way, is that a pubically owned lot? If your elected, will that be your new directive to have the city clean private property? Or is it the responsibility of the property owner to maintain this property? Do you think that your campaign would have been more effective by helping to instill P.R.I.D.E. (Personal Responsibility In Daily Efforts) in La Mesa? As for the photograph of you and the trash on your website: please don't take it off. It is a clear reminder for all of us why we are voting on November 2, 2010.

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