Candidate Lothian Responds To Madrid Supporter

LA MESA – Mayoral candidate Laura Lothian decided to respond, point by point, to a recent story posted on by Art Madrid supporter Jim Wieboldt. Wieboldt’s original comments are interspersed with Lothian’s response:

WIEBOLDT:An Open Letter to the Voters of La Mesa:
It's hard to believe that La Mesa is in another election cycle. Time flies when the city is run efficiently and in order. But Laura Lothian, a candidate for the office of Mayor of La Mesa would have you believe differently.

For several months, Lothian has been telling you the voter that the city is filled with trash, graffiti and dead flowers in city flower pots. This is very serious indeed. So let's take a closer look at Lothian, those issues and what she really stands for!

The trash that Lothian has been speaking about is apparently everywhere in La Mesa. In fact, Lothian provided a photograph of the trash along the south side of the SR125/SR94 transition. The photo showed clearly a lot of trash and debris on the side of the highway right of way, which is maintained by the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS). Further, the photo was taken of an area that is not within the city limits of La Mesa. Is it this a very large problem for La Mesa? Only if CALTRANS fails to police their right of way and some of that nasty debris blows across the freeway into La Mesa.

Daily, thousands of people who live in and/or visit La Mesa take this exit. Instead of drawing a line: this is my side of the room and that is your side of the room, I choose instead to improve entry into La Mesa by working with Caltrans to adopt this ramp. My way solves a problem. Your petty, sarcastic approach solves nothing.

WIEBOLDT: Graffiti is another plague that Lothian has named as blight on La Mesa. One needs only to drive around La Mesa and see for themselves all of the various kinds of spray paint vandalism that exists. I did just that, and after nearly four hours, I found only two small instances of this urban art. On the other hand, a field trip through National City would reveal what graffiti really looks like and the extensive problem it really is in the South Bay and not in La Mesa. I might add that while Lothian cites this graffiti problem, she fails to cite examples or addresses where the graffiti exists.

Attached is a zip file of photos of La Mesa graffiti. All of these are located within four minutes of your business on Date Avenue. These tags are undeniable proof of gangs marking their territory. That you intentionally mislead La Mesans about this very real danger, especially in light of your police background and La Mesa ranking as the highest crime rated city in San Diego County, is irresponsible at best, immoral at worst. You can't fix a problem till you admit the problem. If you still cannot locate any graffiti, I'd be happy to provide you with a map.

WIEBOLDT: And let us not forget the dead flowers in the city flower pots. Earlier this year Lothian touched off a firestorm within the La Mesa Business Community over the flowers. Lothian went around to the planters, photographed their condition, and then published an 11x17 color glossy poster showing the photographs and listing the name of the business where the planter was located. If that was not bad enough, Lothian indicated that the poster was authorized by the La Mesa Community Parking Commission. The Parking Commission then was approached by concerned business owners (Craig Maxwell et al.) about the condition of the planters. During that process, it was brought out that the planters were purchased by the city (more than twenty years ago) through an agreement with the La Mesa Village Merchants Association, that the merchants would be responsible for the maintenance and care of the planters. Lothian than announced that the Merchants were insolvent and could not afford to maintain the planters any longer. A charge that the Merchant's later said was false. Next, Lothian appeared before the city council to appeal to the city that they maintain the planters by using parking meter revenues to pay for their upkeep and maintenance. This, even after she brought the same motion to the Parking Commission earlier and was voted down. Lothian told the council that La Mesa would be much more beautiful with "Little Italy style flower pots".

For 10 years, the mayor has been trying to force a PBID or BID (business investment district) down the collective throats of the village merchants. Though you call it an "investment" everyone knows it's another TAX. A tax that will raise rents, raise the price of products and be one more business-hurting burden, which is why the merchants are AGAINST the mayor's plan. It is a fact the merchants let their gardener go because they couldn't afford him anymore. The cost of keeping him was 1% of what was in the meter money coffers at the time. The meter money is currently used for maintenance, like parking lot slurrying, which public works should be covering. My plan of using meter money to conspicuously beautify the village (power washing, plants, lighting) would attract shoppers and diners and fill commercial/retail vacancies. Because you and the mayor got your way, the village is dirty, there are over two dozen glaring vacancies (including our iconic clock tower building) and our flower pots are once again filled with dead or anemic plants, cigarette butts, empty plastic cups and trash.

WIEBOLDT: I have spoken about the issues that Lothian is campaigning on, I wonder if Lothian will address these issues:
Lothian claims she is a Republican - a true conservative. But is she? The public records of the San Diego County Registrar of Voters suggest otherwise. Since November 3, 1998 there have been seventeen elections. Lothian's record shows she only voted in six of those elections. That's only 35%. And of those seventeen elections, she only voted once as a registered republican (11/02/2004). In fact, Lothian voted in the Gubernatorial Primary held on June 8 of this year as "No Party". Lothian also reveals that she is supported by the Democratic Party and that a fund raiser has been held for her by friends who live on Mount Helix under the title of "Liberals for Laura". How charming.

I am a true Republican. I have the endorsement of the Republican Party of San Diego, the La Mesa Taxpayer's Association, the pro-business political action committee Lincoln Club among others. I have been voting since George Bush, Ross Perot and Bill Clinton ran. You obviously take pride in alienating people. That I count Independents and Democrats as supporters is a feather in my cap and one I am proud of.

WIEBOLDT: Where does Lothian stand on Alcohol and Drug use?
Two of Lothian's supporters (Maxwell and Council Member Ruth Sterling) have been quite vociferous in their constant cry of alarm over Alcohol use by the incumbent Mayor Art Madrid. But Lothian comes to the forum with dirty hands and needs to address why her home was used earlier this year for an underage drinking party which resulted in the arrest and conviction of her daughter for a violation of the La Mesa Social Host Ordinance and provided alcohol for more than one hundred underage drinkers. And does Lothian want to reveal the photographs of the crime in which hundreds of cups, more that twenty bottles of alcohol and several windows in her home were broken out? Where is Maxwell and Sterling's outrage over this incident? Maxwell wrote to the editor of the East County Magazine and accused the publication of using the power of the press to administer a political hit against Lothian about this very article. Last time I checked, Mayor Madrid apologized numerous times for his misstep, but Lothian has not even acknowledged nor apologized for the crime committed at her residence and continues to claim that this incident was just "a sophisticated little party".

LOTHIAN:My 19-year-old daughter is a mature, responsible, well-liked young woman. She has studied abroad, scored over 2000 on her SAT test, is a high GPA college student and has worked for top restaurants in the county for years. One couldn't ask for a better daughter. For her birthday, she planned a little party with her friends who are mostly in their 20s from work. One of her friends posted the party on Facebook causing people to crash the party and for it to get out of control.
This is where you go from mud-slinging to libel: NOT ONE UNDERAGE PERSON DRANK AND DROVE. The La Mesa police know this. No kids were arrested, including my daughter who abstained from alcohol. My daughter was not convicted for any crime: not an infraction, not a misdemeanor, not a fine, nothing. Not one single window was broken out either. In addition, my daughter reimbursed the police department from her restaurant wages and voluntarily spoke to the youth commission warning kids to NEVER host a party where minors are present and alcohol is served. She's a wonderful person who took personal and financial responsibility for her mistake. What you wrote is reprehensible and completely unacceptable.

WIEBOLDT: And drug use? Where does Lothian really stand on that issue?
In a recent interview with La Mesa Patch.Com, Lothian was asked about her position on California Ballot Proposition 19, the legalization of Marijuana. Lothian said in her response:
"I believe our current marijuana laws mistakenly and expensively fill our prisons with nonviolent criminals. Because marijuana is illegal, it creates a profitable enterprise for drug dealers and cartels. If we decriminalized marijuana and regulated it, violence might decrease in Mexico and America, our prisons might not be so full, and we could collect some serious revenue".
Doesn't Lothian know that in order to go to state prison you need to commit a serious felony? There isn't ONE offender in prison for possession of marijuana which is either an infraction or misdemeanor. More likely, offenders are in prison because of marijuana use, which is a gateway drug to more potent drugs which then wreak havoc in the community.

LOTHIAN: Criminalizing marijuana is costly and ineffective. l would rather have our legal system working on the John Albert Gardner and David Westerfield cases than pot smokers. The sixties were 50 years ago. Millions of people have tried or occasionally smoke pot and stopped there. Though I don't smoke pot and I never have, I know people who do and none of them use heroin, crack or meth. Even uber-conservative Sarah Palin supports legalizing marijuana. I also made it very clear in Patch I am against any pot dispensaries in La Mesa. All that said, I am not campaigning for legalizing pot nor am I all that pro legalizing pot, I was simply asked a question and answered it and you and my opponent keep trying to, excuse the pun, inflame people.

On November 2, 2010, we have a choice. Will it be alcohol, marijuana and some really nice flowers? Or will it be the men who have served La Mesa honorably for the last four years?

My choice will most certainly be Art Madrid for Mayor, Ernie Ewin and Mark Arapostathis

LOTHIAN:You can vote for whomever you like. One thing is certain. If Art wins, we can expect the next four years to be just like the last 20 years: consistent high crime, trash and graffiti worsening (these things don't fix themselves), pensions becoming more of a burden (this year, Art Madrid voted to lower city employees' benefits age from 60 to 55), continued Chicago-style intimidation policies, unprofessional conduct and persistent negative publicity.

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Tags: Government


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Comment by Craig S. Maxwell on November 1, 2010 at 12:29pm
If it really was, as Joan, states "a mixed teen and twenty-something 'sophisticated' party," then I'll bet Art is sorry he missed it.
Comment by joan sullivan on October 30, 2010 at 5:25pm
I do not censure a 19-year-old girl for her inability to control 100 rambunctious adolescents. The daughter's fault lies in not calling for adult help.

Ms. Lothian was the property owner and resident householder. Mrs. Lothian authorized a mixed teen and twenty-something 'sophisticated' party on that property and when the party cascaded, Ms. Lothian is the person to blame for failure to halt the cascade because she was not on the premises.

Ms. Lothian should have sent her significant other off to the Gaslamp alone and curled up in her room with a book, so that when the party erupted into a mob of guzzling teen-agers, she could order them, with full authority of a property owner and a mature adult, to get off her property and go muck up their own mothers' back yards or she would call the police to throw them off.

The Social Host Ordinance gives the police some wiggle room in deciding who to charge and how much of the destructive force of the law to bring down on them. In this instance they chose to charge the daughter rather than the mother, whose business reputation might be damaged.

Does anyone else see the similarity between this benign handling of the Lothian alcohol incident and of the Madrid alcohol incident (a lessor threat to public safety)? How about the differences in the media and the court of public opinion? If Lothian were a Madrid protege, the Sterling/Maxwell Hate Campaign would have La Mesa blazoned in the media as Booze Town USA again, just like in 2008. Burn down the entire village and everyone in it to destroy one man.

The courts have closed both cases. Both incidents should be dismissed into past history. A speaker at the February 28, 2008, City Council Special Meeting said, "Let people be. Let people have their private lives in peace."

But, Laura, I still think you should stand up like a man and apologize, just like Art Madrid did.
Comment by joan sullivan on October 30, 2010 at 2:59pm
Nancy: You say you see lots of graffiti on your daily walks. To report graffiti, call the La Mesa Graffiti Hotline at 619-466-3789. The city can't remove the graffiti unless you, the citizen, report it to them first.
Comment by Craig S. Maxwell on October 30, 2010 at 1:34pm
Ya, Laura's daughter is about as guilty as O.J. is innocent.
Comment by joan sullivan on October 30, 2010 at 4:42am
REFERENCE THE FACT CHECK: the East County Magazine fact check, "Police Records Request Shoots Hole in Candidate's Story about Teen Drinking Party,"

FACT CHECK: "According to the La Mesa Police Department public records request response, "On 6/23/2010 approximately 11:26 pm, La Mesa Police Department officers were dispatched to multiple calls of a large party at 4622 Date Avenue, La Mesa. Arriving officers saw approximately 100 people in the backyard of the residence and observed numerous persons who appeared under the age of 21 drinking alcohol. There were tables set up in the backyard on which people were playing 'beer pong,' numerous liquor bottles throughout the backyard of the residence and small white Dixie cups scattered throughout the backyard that had been used for Jell-O shooters."

LOTHIAN: "No kids were arrested, including my daughter who abstained from alcohol. My daughter was not convicted for any crime: not an infraction, not a misdemeanor, not a fine, nothing."

FACT CHECK: "ECM obtained a Public Record Information Release from the La Mesa Police Department that states, "The resident... was arrested for a violation of 10.38.030(a) L.M.M.C.-Social Host Ordinance, and released on a citation after promising to appeaar in court ... Such a violation is usually charged as a misdemeanor, however La Mesa City Attorney Glenn Sabine stated that the city reached a plea agreement with Lothian's daughter, in which she "pled guilty to an infraction for one count of the violation as part of a plea arrangement. The fine was suspended providing no same or similar infraction within one year."

LOTHIAN: "Not one single window was broken out, either."

FACT CHECK: "Police Custodian of Records Christine McMillen confirmed "there is a photo of a broken window with broken glass on the walkway outside the residence."

LOTHIAN: "Not one underage person drank and drove."

ME: how did those 100 drinking teenagers get to the party and home again, Laura? On rollerskates?

With her statements above, Ms. Lothian has graduated from inept prospect for mayor to bare faced liar. We don't want a bumped-up Avon lady for mayor and we surely don't want a liar.
Comment by Heather on October 28, 2010 at 12:11am
I Just have to say this. If Lothian thinks that the Urban Art in La Mesa is a problem then consider driving through other cities throughout San Diego like Chula Vista, National City or even down town San Diego and see what Urban Art problems really are. La Mesa doesn't compare to that intensity. I do not vote in the La Mesa Area but I do know that using trash and graffiti as their main points of helping the city I think that other items that deserve more of a focus then that.
Comment by Kristin Kjaero on October 27, 2010 at 9:45pm
FYI an East County Magazine fact check is now on-line, "Police Records Request Shoots Hole in Candidate's Story about Teen Drinking Party," .
Comment by Ian I Shiff on October 25, 2010 at 8:45am
well said Nancy!
Comment by Nancy Salisbury on October 24, 2010 at 12:11am
Mr. Wieboldt,

Wow. You seem to be quite preoccupied with trying to defame Ms. Lothian. Have you ever gone over to her office on La Mesa Boulevard to engage her in conversation? You know, her door is always wide open, should you ever get the nerve to go talk to her in person instead of slamming her and her family members on the worldwide web. If you have paid her a visit, I apologize for that dig. I know her, and the person you are so hostile toward is not Laura Lothian; the person about whom you are writing is some strange character you have fabricated in your little mind. Must be, because not one thing you've said is remotely true of the real Laura Lothian, and you have said A LOT. You must have too much time on your hands?

Ms. Lothian not a conservative? Everyone who knows me knows I'm a very much a conservative. Very. I know Ms. Lothian. Trust me; she's a Republican. But, guess what? She's also super smart and capable and realizes this race isn't about party. This race is about what's best for our beloved city. Conservatives AND liberals want to build a better La Mesa. Imagine that.

And libeling her young daughter? Classy. Anybody ever publish negative fabrications about one of your family members? How did it/would it make you feel? Way to go, Slick. Haven’t you ever been camping? You ought to know better than to mess with a mama grizzly and her cubs.

And legalizing marijuana? Well, I support it, too. I didn't used to, because I, like Ms. Lothian, have never used it and have never wanted to use it. I choose not to be around it, and I'm not certain I would recognize it if I smelled it. BUT, I have decided I am for its legalization. If marijuana were legal, I STILL wouldn't smoke it. I would, however, enjoy seeing it taxed, and I'd like to see if legalizing it might make a positive difference on our borders, in our legal system, and for our busy law enforcement personnel. Maybe if it were legal, the kid next door would stop selling it, and the cops would stop having to come over all the time, and all the scumbags who show up to buy it while I am playing with my toddler in the front yard would quit coming around.

And the litter and graffiti thing? Really? You drove around for four hours without seeing a problem? (Seriously, you have too much time on your hands.) I live in the village, within two blocks of the main drag. We put up a new fence last year, and it was tagged that night. The apartment complex on my street was tagged recently, as were the rock walls of two of my neighbors. I'll bet it was the same people who recently threw bricks through the windows of several cars on my street. Might even be the same people who leave their booze cans and bottles along the sidewalk. Could even be the same people who egged my car. I don't think it was the same people who continually let their dogs poop in my yard and then don't bother to pick it up.

Sir, I walk with my baby and my dog every day, twice a day, and I cover a lot of ground in La Mesa. Want to come with me sometime? I'll show you plenty of graffiti and litter.

I am passionate about this town. My husband and I want to raise our children here. We want to see our property value come up. We want to walk our dog without having to look at litter, empty businesses, and dirty sidewalks. I want to feel like my family is safe when my husband is deployed. I don’t see how things can improve when the guy who has been in office for the past couple of decades doesn’t even think there is a problem. We support Laura Lothian for mayor, because she recognizes the problems; she shares our passion for this town; she is smart, energetic, action-oriented, and poised to make some positive change around here!
Comment by Kristin Kjaero on October 22, 2010 at 7:47pm
I want to clarify basic facts for part of this discussion: At present, there is no BID or PBID in the Village.

The City sent an open invitation to stakeholders in the Village to participate in a discussion of BIDs/PBIDs. A steering committee was formed from those that participated, which recommended a PBID be brought to a vote of all stakeholder in the Village. If that vote passes, then it will be brought before the City Council.

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