Running for La Mesa City Council, Laura Lothian sees a lack of business leadership in the city’s government and wants to bring her business perspective to the local government.
Lothian is the top producing agent in La Mesa with the most home sold since 2003, selling between $1/3 and $1/2 billion in local real estate. Her entire career, Lothian’s office, Pacific Sotheby’s International Real Estate is located in the heart of La Mesa. Lothian said for all of her career, she has issues with regulations, ordinances, rules and mandates, finding most of them annoying and unnecessary.
Lothian said what she has seen from the other candidates is the lack of a pro-business stance.
“I feel that our businesses are the most important thing,” she said. “They are the ones that fund everything. Infrastructure, schools, police and fire and I want to roll out the red carpet for businesses and say we are going to help you open your doors and keep them open. If I am elected I am going to do everything that I can to strip petty ordinances and rules from these businesses,” the Republican candidate said.
“But this COVID has made me nuts,” she said. “This is crazy. It is not La Mesa’s fault. California is instigating these rules and so many cities are just falling in line. I wonder, why is nobody challenging Sacramento. It just started stewing in my soul, so I said that I am going to run.”
Lothian said it has now gone from annoying to actually destroying businesses. She said the federal government handles COVID-19 one way, and the state another, so she began researching.
“Everyone likes to talk about the pandemic over the one that was about a century ago, but we had a pandemic in 1968 [H3N3 virus],” she said. “And the numbers are almost identical to the numbers now. They had 100,000 die then, and now it’s around 170,000, but the population then was 200 million and now it’s over 300 million. It’s the same.05% percent. When we had the 1968/9 pandemic, we didn’t shut down our economy, we didn’t force masks, and we even had Woodstock. I don’t understand why we are collapsing our economy.”
Lothian said her mother, 83 is terrified, and she should be. She said when family visits her, they keep their distance, wear mask, no touching and she brings her food individually wrapped.
“I think this is the way this country should have handled it,” she said “If you are vulnerable, you need to be protected. But shutting down sports, schools, restaurants, movies, as soon as it started in March, I had this sick in my stomach, like this is wrong. I don’t like that part of it.”
In talking to all the offices and restaurants, Lothian said one restaurant said, “Every day I don’t open my doors I’m losing business. I’m losing money.”
“Now the new rules are 25% capacity and we know restaurants can barely make it at 100% capacity. It’s a recipe for failure,” she said.
Lothian said the recent civil unrest in La Mesa today is its most sensitive topic and if you say the wrong word, you could lose your job, career, or be attacked. She said months ago she would have said this problem would not apply to La Mesa, but now the city is front and center of the conversation.
“I am half Guatemalan, my mother is full Guatemalan, so I guess I could be called a person of color or woman of color,” she said. “However, I’m not Black. And I will never pretend to know the Black experience in the United States. I imagine that there are a lot of people across this country that feel a lot of frustration, anger and potentially fear from the police.”
But she did say, the second a person sends a Molotov cocktail, or burns down buildings, or loots, they have lost the argument over Black Lives Matter and police tactics. “How can you persuade people to listen to you if you are destroying their community?” she said.
Lothian was in her office May 30, saw the peaceful protests during the day, but around 8 p.m., she began seeing the smoke, fire, rocks and running, so she left her office and returned early the next morning and the buildings were still in flames.
“I like that since then, there have been protests and not a single one of them has devolved into a violent riot,” she said. “I don’t know whether it’s the groups that regret how badly it went on May 30 and they are acting more peacefully, or that we put up a strong police front letting them know not again.”
Lothian said she saw many groups with trucks flying the American flag but did not realize that they had specific names for the groups. She did not see baseball bats, knives or guns, but said she saw people patrolling the streets and that she thought the show of human body force helped stop the chances for the protests to turn violent.“We had a lot of police force too, and I think a lot of these town’s police are being told to stand down,” she said. “They are not allowed to do crowd control and all that. I think that kind of behavior is going to force people to protect themselves, their friend and their businesses.”