Having served on La Mesa City Council for eight years, Kristine Alessio is seeking her third and final term in the upcoming election. Running as No Party Preference, Alessio is an attorney and works for her father, a real estate developer and the owner of a small mini-storage in Spring Valley.
Alessio said she and the council accomplished several things that she is particularly proud of.
Alessio said before it had IRS approval, she took the pension and liability program PARS Plan to city staff, creating a greater return than the CalPERS Public Employee’s Retirement System.
Alessio said implementing OpenGov allows people to have an easy understanding of the city budget is an achievement that directly helps the residents of La Mesa in understanding where their tax dollars go.
She partnered with fellow council member Akilah Weber to create a comprehensive no smoking order that she believes is very important to the health of residents. On the subcommittee for La Mesa’s Climate Action Plan, she said they reached out to gain a complete buy-in from all stakeholders, being the first city in East County to adopt one.
“We relied a lot on them and now we have an enforceable Climate Action Plan,” she said. “Tied to that we also have Community Choice Energy.”
Community Choice Energy allows residents the option to have less expensive energy, she said.
Alessio said she proud of what the council has done with animals, whether making a proclamation that ferrets should not be prohibited or reducing fees when people have to surrender their pets to local shelters.
“When you are on the city council, it is a whole bag of things. You should never have pet issues or one thing that take priority over another,” she said. “You need to look at the global relation with all the parts of the city, whether it is finances, sewer, climate, safe parks, or homelessness.”
Alessio said COVID-19 is a top priority, especially recovering from the social and economic damage due to the pandemic.
She said the city did a good job with business and rental assistance grants through its CARES Act Funding.
She said she is hoping for another round of CARES Act funding so they can continue to meet the needs of landlords/renters, businesses and homeowners.
“People are closed up, they are sitting online, they are afraid about their jobs, their health,” she said.
Alessio said is seems that COVID is not going away anytime soon, there will not be a miracle vaccine to save everyone and that resources now need to be spent on the most vulnerable populations.
But she said there are some inconsistencies in how the county and state are handling life through a pandemic. She said she is disappointed in the county and the state not recognizing that the same risks for infection could happen at various locations but are treated differently.
“You can go to a movie theater, but you cannot go to a church,” she said. “You can go into a grocery store, but another part of health is being able to go to the gym. I think the requirements should be uniform. Take your temperature, wear a mask, social distance.”
Alessio said the events of May 30 in La Mesa was not civil unrest, it was a riot. She said she had never seen anything like this before.
Alessio said she is looking forward to seeing what the independent investigation holds, but she has her own perspective.
“I know a lot of people, myself included, felt removed from what was happening as far as communication,” she said. “I definitely feel the City did a poor job of getting information out to their residents. But I am not going to lay the blame at the police station because if you talk to the people that are dispatch and in charge of putting out alerts, they had people breaking their windows wanting to burn the police station.”
Alessio said most people that attended the protests and riots were not from La Mesa, many of them from outside the city apparently just set on anarchy, vandalism and destructions with La Mesa’s businesses and residents paying the price. She said as La Mesa continues to grow its population, council needs to ensure that it has an adequately staffed police force.
“It is discouraging because the moral of the police is very low due to people calling them names and calling them racists,” she said. “They are calling them a racist police department and they are not. We need to support law enforcement which in return protects our residents.”