La Mesa mayoral and City Council candidates

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Mayoral
Questions
 
1. During the last term on city council what completed projects, programs and procedures are you most proud of and why?
2. If re-elected, what projects, programs and procedures would you like to see come to fruition and why?
3. Where do you stand on term limits and why?

Mayoral
Questions
 
1. During the last term on city council what completed projects, programs and procedures are you most proud of and why?
2. If re-elected, what projects, programs and procedures would you like to see come to fruition and why?
3. Where do you stand on term limits and why?
4. What do you feel are La Mesa’s most serious issues that need immediate attention and why?
5. Free Zone.
 
 
Art Madrid
La Mesa mayor
 
“As Mayor I have provided the vision and leadership on a variety and number of significant projects and accomplishments which has help transform the City of La Mesa into a vibrant community with a bright future during my terms in office as Mayor, including the past four years.”
“Representative examples include: Initiated the planning and recruitment of numerous La Mesa residents and organizations responsible for our highly successful Centennial Celebration; Provided the leadership in obtaining a $2 million dollar grant four our award winning “Complete Streets Program” on Allison Avenue; provided leadership in obtaining the $5.8 million dollar funding for the Downtown Village Revitalization Project.; Was the driving force in the development of the City’s safe Routes to Schools Program; Initiated the important ordinance change which allowed fermentation and brewing of micro-breweries in our Industrial Zone; Created the Interfaith Council; Initiated the addition of three critical elements to the City’s General Plan; Successfully represented the city at various meetings and conferences in the region, state and national which helped staff generate over $12 million dollars in grants for core city services. Supported responsible construction and development while protecting the City’s character and heritage and ‘small town atmosphere.’”
“There are a number of important projects to be completed in my next term as Mayor including: the completion of our Civic Center with a new City Hall and the proper development of all other city valuable lands. Creating a Youth Police Cadet Corps. Promote the completion of Downtown Parking Structure. Promote the further development of Downtown Private properties. Create additions city programs to engage more residents in the in the affairs of the government. Hold a “Team Building” workshop with new and existing council members. Continue the successful Town Hall Meetings. Explore the possibility of a building a new Community Center and assure the proper planning and transition of our employees who are ready to retire.”
“We already have permanent “Term Limits,” they are called elections!”
“Dealing with our fiscal challenges created by a recession second only in terms of disastrous consequences for everyone since the ‘29 depression.”
“By any object standard of measurement, the vast difference in all critical and important qualifications for city leadership between me and my opponent are patently obvious, especially with our integrity, experience, accomplishments, strategic vision, self respect and every know characteristic which immediately engenders respect and confidence I have a proven history of accomplishments, both in the private and public sectors. Positive, long term experiences at every level of government, local, state and national with important organizations which have assisted me in the receipt of millions of dollars in grants for city services.”
 
Mark Arapostathis
Councilmember
 
“During my eight years we built a new police station, library and completed the Allison Street renovation. In addition through our Safe Routes to School Program (now just called Safe Routes) we were able to make capital improvements near and around schools thus providing safe sidewalks and streets for students and pedestrians to travel on. We also voted to make our city finances transparent. Now on the city website anyone can view how and where the city spends tax dollars. We also are completely transparent with regards to our crime report. Any and all activity is reported to the public through a police press release. We also use Nixle to notify La Mesa residence of Fire Dept and Police Dept. activity in the city. Over the past 8 years we have formed a Emergency Preparedness Committee and have increased the number of neighborhoods that utilize and participate in Neighborhood Watch. Implemented a Joint Exercise of Powers Agreement for Fire Service between the cities of El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove called Hartland Fire and Rescue. This JPA has saved the city money. We completed Fitness Plaza at Adult Enrichment Center using grant funding. Finally, through our Community Service Dept. the Park and Rec Foundation, and private donations we were able to renovate many city parks as part of the It’s Child’s Play campaign, building new play structures, making the play surface safer, added new lighting, and overall created parks that can and are being well used by La Mesa families.”
“I will continue to work with the Safe Routes program to ensure that all the streets are safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. Will vow to ensure that Grossmont Center continues operation in the city of La Mesa for many more years. And as infill construction continues, ensure that development follows all the requirements stipulated in the La Mesa general plan. Will work with state officials to ensure the preservation of Proposition 13.”
“I did not vote to put term limits on the ballot. I felt that the group initiating the measure should go to the residents and get signatures. I feel it should be left up to the voters.”
“Public Safety. We always need to continue to ensure safe streets and safe neighborhoods for our residents. The La Mesa Village Downtown Streetscape. After the completion of the project we will need to support the investment we made in the renovation by attracting new businesses that will make our downtown a destination. Look for ways the city can improve quality of life for all our residents.”
“I am honest, have integrity that is demonstrated through my actions, not just words on a sign. I will work collaboratively with everyone whether we agree or not, to find common ground. Most importantly, the issues the city council will focus on will be those important to the residents. We will not push any personal agendas. My leadership is based on leadership through service. We will work together to offer the best service to the citizens of La Mesa. I care about this city.”
 
Council
 
1. During the last term on city council what completed projects, programs and procedures do you most support and why?
2. If elected, what projects, programs and procedures would you like to see come to fruition and why?
3. Where do you stand on term limits and why?
4. What do you feel are La Mesa’s most serious issues that need immediate attention and why?
5. Free Zone. 
 
Bill Baber
La Mesa/Spring Valley School District Trustee
Did not participate.
 
 
Patrick Dean
Catering Event Manager
 
During the last term on city council what completed projects, programs and procedures do you most support and why?
“As a challenger, I have not yet had the opportunity to tackle the myriad of problems facing La Mesa. Six years of consistent attendance at city council meetings has made it clear that alternative voices are sorely missing from the discourse. My goal is to give all citizens of La Mesa a voice at the table, not just those who have businesses in the Village. There are, of course, council achievements of which I applaud. Despite the hardships brought on from the construction of Streetscape, the project will ultimately be seen as an important success. The beautiful trees that line our village, difficult as they may have been to lose, will one day be replaced by a mature canopy that will live to shade and shelter us in the Village for generations. We will emerge a beautiful and more pedestrian-friendly downtown environment. Greater city budget transparency and online access through OpenGov.org is another example of what our hard-working city staff can deliver when asked the right questions. I encourage all La Mesa residents to use this tool.  Does our city budget reflects your priorities? Let me know what needs to be changed. My vision is to build on the best of this – bringing new voices, new perspectives into the conversation.”
“#1 Public Safety; We must search for economies and productivity enhancements, but only where we maintain readiness, professionalism and morale among all our first responders. Trolley security is important as is prudent management of our employee pension and benefits. We must ensure that the city offers a package that keeps the best of the best right here in La Mesa.”
“#2 Green Spaces; I will pursue innovative ways to maintain the quality and extend the range of our invaluable green spaces while simultaneously continuing to maintain our vital roads and bridges. The council must recognize the vital importance of safe and separated bike paths for our safety and recreation.”
“#3 Smart Development; We need to manage growth while respecting the interests of all parties. The variance issue at Park Station is a reminder. Tough choices are certain; what is good for the majority of residents has to be first.”
“#4 Let us change the meeting time for all city council meetings to 18:00.   Few residents can attend a meeting at four in the afternoon; most would have to take off work.”
“There’s something missing here. What bothers me most is the lack of concern for the voters. The proposed ordinance is focused on removing incumbents, but what is the impact of that on the voters? I worry what this will do to our civic culture. And I’m not at all persuaded that the current council has so ruined the city that such a measure is necessary. Our resources are better invested in opportunities for candidates to become competitive for office – opening doors, rather than closing them. Patrick Dean votes No on Ballot Measure K.”
“And while we are at it, let’s talk about the City Clerk initiative; As it stands, the Clerk is elected by the voters and directly accountable to them only. Shifting this position from the ballot to a government billet changes that relationship profoundly. I do not think that is prudent. It is quite easy to foresee occasions where the Clerk could be placed in an awkward position with divided loyalties – whom to serve: the public, the city manager or the council. Compliance with the Brown Act is a good example. Patrick Dean votes No on Ballot Measure M.”
“#1 WATER! We must face the harsh realities that are barreling down on us in an ever more arid climate. We can work with Helix Water District to find ways to become more water wise as a city government, resident, agricultural entity or business.”
“#2 Population Growth; SANDAG forecasts that La Mesa should expect 21,000 more residents by 2050. That is a lot of cars, congestion, and pollution. It seems the current council has chosen to ignore this. For many years, the only exceptions being made by our council in building variances are exemptions favoring the developers.  No one has asked developers to demonstrate civic responsibility and give back to the community. It is time that we leverage the consent of the governed for their benefit. Only projects that provide for the enrichment of posterity should be granted any exemption.”
“The La Mesa City Council does not represent our diverse population. This leaves most of us without any voice at all. I can change that. A well-funded fringe group is actively perusing a so-called “reform” ticket that shuts out all but the most strident of the extreme voices from our civic discourse. I am uncomfortable allowing this group a majority in our council. Evidence the removal of Mayor Madrid from the SANDAG board. They chose to trade a representative with a long history of working with one of our most important partners for whom, a new comer with little accumulated knowledge and subjugated to a sub-committee.  The result: a drastically diminished voice for La Mesa in regional affairs. The only objective achieved was the snubbing of a hated political rival. What about the rest of us?  We expect a council concerned with good governance and have had our fill of long standing grievances and bitterness among members. It is time for a new direction. We need to elect people equipped with good judgment, able to impart the balance and fairness required in such decisions as the Park Station development. We need council members who look after all of the businesses of La Mesa, such as those that line our “other” main boulevards: University, El Cajon and La Mesa Boulevard near Jackson and Grossmont Center.”
“A vote for Patrick Dean is a vote to address the needs of the rest of La Mesa.   Representing your voice on this council would be a cherished honor.” Vote Dean 2014
 
 
Guy McWhirter
Small Businessman
 
“This is my first time running for elected office.”
“The city and many of the organizations that operate in the city have special skills and abilities that are only taken advantage of by a small percentage of the Cities residents.  I plan to reach out to these groups, Churches, Charities and service organizations and propose collaborative solutions to some of the issues that affect our city.  Safety and security, clean streets and homelessness are just some of the items we could tackle together.  I believe there are many people living in the City who would love to participate and should be given the option and opportunity.  Our City Budget is very limited in discretionary spending.  Many city residents would like a number of things done, but paying for it is always the challenge.”
“I support Term Limits.  Incumbency is almost an impossible challenge for someone to overcome if they are running for office.  A 80%-90% chance of incumbents winning is only right if the playing field is level.  There are politicians on both sides of the isle who win reelection while under indictment or just use public funding as their retirement and benefit system.  With the clearly demonstrative advantage of incumbency, a lack of term limits is creating a “ruling class” effect making it very difficult to bring in new citizens and ideas into the public policy process.  I believe that those opposed to term limits feel that there may be a void of good, competent people who could serve the public and that we must hold on to those already in office.  Personally, I would rather take the chance of terming out someone who has been doing a good job knowing that there are good, quality people who can replace them rather than having someone who has become ineffective stay in office as a result of the power of incumbency.”
“For me, public safety should always be a priority and demand the attention  of any elected official.  Whether we are walking in their own neighborhoods, parks or downtown La Mesa , we all want to feel safe and have confidence in our Fire and Police department. I would like to see a larger number of neighbor watch groups working together in their own areas. Responsible resident involvement is a big part of keeping crime down. I believe the RSVP and Reserves Police officers can grow and continue to deter crime in the city as well.
“Living in La Mesa for over 50 years has given me deep roots and connections in the City.  In addition to running a business in La Mesa I have volunteered much of my time working with charities and service organizations.  Some of these include the Red Cross, San Diego Blood Bank, San Diego Food Bank, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts and a variety of Churches.   I will use these connections to accomplish question 2.  Also, La Mesa should be a place where City Government provides its core functions (Fire, Police, infrastructure, permits, zoning enforcement, etc.) equally and is friendly and helpful to residents and businesses alike regardless of personal or political affiliation.  I believe city staff is very good at this and will follow the lead of the elected officials who behave likewise.  We, as residents, do not exist to serve the elected officials.  Elected officials and staff are there to serve the residents of our city.”
 
Mary England
Businesswoman
“The Youth Leadership Academy done in conjunction with the La Mesa Police Department. This program assists youths being great leaders for tomorrow. They receive many skills and training preparing them for leadership – this project runs with businesses within our community and is a highly recognized program in the region.”
“The purchase of the fire truck that allows firefighters to reach additional heights when fighting fires and saving lives.”
“The Downtown Streetscape Project – although it is still in progress the years of coordination to garner the funding, obtain the bids in addition to designing the project will be an enhancement t La Mesa.”
“See the Downtown Streetscape Project to completion. This will be a highly decorated and long awaited project for our community.”
“See the completion of the Legacy project which dovetails with the Downtown Streetscape Project. This project has funds donated by businesses and community leaders ad will be a great addition to the corner of 4th and La Mesa Boulevard and compete the vision of the Downtown Streetscape revitalization.”
“See The King Street Project begin and be completed. This project will begin in the spring of 2015 and will enhance safe and accessible bicycle and pedestrian connections on King Street and in the neighborhood of Vista La Mesa Academy in the southwest portion of La Mesa. The $940,000 grant awarded for this project will make a difference in the lives of adults, as well as children in our city.”
“Utilize enhanced technology to allow our employees in all departments to spend more time with our citizens and less time on paperwork. There are applications now being used that streamline paper flow and allow for dictating reports. These applications can enhance all of our lives and make our city more efficient and responsive to our public’s needs.”
“The public is the true measurement of an elected leader’s time in office. Whether this time is mandated by term limits or whether a leader is not re-elected when running for additional terms, the voter is always the final decision on who is in office and how long they stay in office. I believe that the power is in the hands of the voter and their wishes will be heard at the ballot box on this issue in November. I stand with the voter of La Mesa on Term Limits.”
“La Mesa’s long term financial stability. We must provide adequate services that taxpayers are paying for and deserve and need. We must work to reduce the unfunded pension liability that is looming at $67 million. Tackling the financial solvency of La Mesa is key to the success of the city and our future.”
“I have the experience necessary for being a council member, having served on the Lemon Grove City Council for 12 years and solving problems similar to what La Mesa is experiencing. I am willing to make the tough decisions required to effect positive change. I have a history of creating public/private partnerships, which are necessary in these current economic times. I enjoy people and public service. I want to make a difference. Being a council member is all about people and making a difference in their lives.”
 
Peter Gegorovic
Attorney/Businessman
 
“As a question posed for current city council members, I can only respond as a resident. Some good accomplishments appear to be the grant received to upgrade the Village sidewalks and streets and making and effort for financial transparency through OpenGov.”
“I would like to see our City seriously recognize the drought and find the means to upgrade our parks to drought resistant so we can maintain those City facilities where youth sports are played (for example, soccer and baseball fields) with the necessary water to keep them green. The youth of our City must have safe and supervised outdoor activities to provide for our young families and attract new families.”
“I continue to evaluate term limits in the context of a City the size of La Mesa. The goal of elections is to elect the best qualified person for the job. So the basic fundamental question is, ‘Do we really want to limit the choices of the voters?’”
“On the other hand, a very famous founding father of our Country, John Adams, said,  “Without [term limits] every man in power becomes a ravenous beast of prey”. Term Limits can help break the cycle of repetitive council decisions. The question posed in La Mesa is whether the current term limit ballot initiative is the right one for La Mesa. On that, the voters will decide.”
“Since running for City Council, the issue that will need immediate attention will be finding a new Police Chief, given the impending retirement of Chief Aceves. As there are no internal candidates, the City will be looking at an outsider to fill this position. This will certainly shape the manner in which La Mesa is protected moving into the future.”
“As a business attorney for over 25 years, I represent and provide consultation to individuals and companies ranging from large corporations to the Mom & Pop Store. I understand that the decisions one person makes can affect many.  Whether as a 33 year La Mesa resident,; husband, father and grandfather; Assistant District Administrator for Little League; or former president of La Mesa National Little League and Vice President of the La Mesa Athletic Council, I understand the importance of balancing various interests for the benefit of our community. I am the most qualified candidate and will provide objective, independent, well-reasoned representation for La Mesa’s future.”

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