On Nov. 2 La Mesa will hold a special election to fill the vacancy left by former councilwoman Akilah Weber

Mejgan Afshan

Mejgan Afshan

Mejgan Afshan

Afshan, 42, co-founder of non-profit civil rights activist group Borderlands for Equity as well as the founder of East County Justice Coalition.

“I am a civil rights advocate and was a legal observer at the La Mesa protest on May 30. Watching it unravel was really devastating. I grew up across the street from the police station, going to the old library with my little sister. Watching law enforcement go to the roof and disperse tear gas… I didn’t think people should be treated that way and when I found out that Dr. Weber had won her seat in the Assembly District, so I considered it might be time to run for City Council,” Afshan said.

The pandemic, she said, revealed “an inequality that has been going on for decades” and representatives need to fight for struggling, working individuals.

For the entire interview see the Oct. 22 edition of The East County Californian or online at

Kathleen Brand

Kathleen Brand

Brand, 58, said she has volunteered with the city of La Mesa for 20 years, has regularly attended city council meetings for the past decade, and believes that her professional experience in urban planning and landscape architecture would benefit the city andits residents.

If elected, Brand said, one of the first things to do is look “holistically” at California State Bill 9, which focuses on the creation of accessory dwelling units by local ordinance and California State Bill 10 that allows development of up to 10 residential units per parcel.

“People think ADUs will be cheaper because they’re smaller but we’re learning from apartment complexes that small is not necessarily cheap to build. The lowest cost for an ADU is about $200,000 and to me that is nothing to sneeze at. I want to encourage incentives to build with Universal Design so it could be a unit for seniors, perhaps offer a big reduction in developer permit fees if they’re willing to do it,” Brand said.

For the entire interview see the Oct. 15 edition of The East County Californian or online at

Patricia Dillard

Patricia Dillard

Dillard, 62, said she is running on a platform for increased public safety, criminal justice reform and homelessness issues.

“You have people with mental health issues that are also homeless, people with medical issues that maybe in addition to that have lost their jobs. We have the compound effect of COVID. You want to work with people that are professionals in that field… You can’t just count on one way to deal with homelessness,” Dillard said.

Potentially, she would like to see churches funded through American Rescue Plan Act funding in a way that would benefit homeless outreach programs.

For the entire interview see the Oct. 8  edition of The East County Californian or online at

Laura Lothian

Laura Lothian

The real estate agent said if elected her top three priorities would be to block potential taxes levied by the San Diego region’s SANDAG planning agency, to address city trash cleanup, and push for permanent parklets in an effort to benefit the business community.

“The most visible, tangible improvement to La Mesa I could accomplish very quickly would be trash removal from our streets, parks, on and off ramps. Somehow, our standards have been lowered to a point where we think it’s okay to put up with trash and litter. I would donate my City Council salary to litter removal, plus pressure CalTrans to do a better job of cleaning our on and off-ramps or get approval from CalTrans to let residents clean up,” Lothian said.

“As a long-time resident of our city, a three-time mom, businesswoman, activist, and volunteer, I know I can use my skills to make La Mesa a better city for everyone,” Lothian said.

For the entire interview see the Oct. 15  edition of The East County Californian or online at

Jim Stiering

Jim Stieringer

Stieringer, a  retired businessman and La Mesa City Treasurer,  said his top three priorities would be to enlarge the La Mesa library, fully fund La Mesa Police and  La Mesa Fire departments, and improve the quality of housing throughout the city.

“…The city is under an obligation  to provide low cost housing but low cost housing and quality housing  don’t always go together,” he said, which is a challenge for local  leaders.

“I’d like to think that we left the city in a good position, that we  have not built housing that is less than high quality,” Stieringer said.

For the entire interview see the Oct. 8 edition of The East County Californian or online at

Michelle Louden

Louden did not participate in a candidate interview.