Two seats open on Lemon Grove City Council

1. During the last term on city council what completed projects, programs and procedures do you support and why?
2. During the last term on city council what completed projects, programs and procedures do you support and why?
3. If elected, what projects, programs and procedures would you like to see come to fruition and why?

1. During the last term on city council what completed projects, programs and procedures do you support and why?
2. During the last term on city council what completed projects, programs and procedures do you support and why?
3. If elected, what projects, programs and procedures would you like to see come to fruition and why?
4. What do you feel are Lemon Grove’s most serious issues that need immediate attention and why?
5. Free Zone.
Stephen Browne
Local Business Owner
Did not participate.
Anna Sessom-Baker
Local Business Owner
“There are two completed projects and programs that stand out for me. The first is how this City weathered the Great Recession. The programs that were cut to save money are coming back in an economically sound manner. City staff is being slowly added back in where most needed to serve the needs of our residents. The City Council had resisted the impulse to draw down all reserves and are now building them back up. That saving plan needs to be continued.”
“Secondly, the new businesses and residents in the downtown area are a major step forward to bringing new money into this City. There will be more property taxes generated as the properties are put to their highest and best use. There will be more sales taxes. Additionally, the new residents bring new money into our businesses and there are plenty of ways to spend that money throughout Lemon Grove.”
“The continuation of the Main Street Promenade to the City’s southern limits would be a huge step towards uniting all our Lemon Grove neighborhoods. The strength of our City is in the businesses and residents; the more we know each other, the better for our progress.”
“I would explore the potential of further streamlining our development procedures for new businesses. This would be another step towards bringing new sources of revenue to Lemon Grove. New businesses in this City means more sales tax money.”
“In order to improve this City within its boundaries, we need to look both inside and outside the City for new revenue. Lemon Grove has assets that maybe underutilized. Those need identified and plans made to have those assets work for us. If elected, I would seek to work with my fellow City Councilmembers and City staff to make economic development a priority. There is money outside of Lemon Grove that could be brought into this City and put to work for us. For example, the City Council instituted a Broker Incentive plan to reward real estate brokers who bring new businesses to Lemon Grove. It is a new program and its effectiveness can’t yet be judged, but this sort of thinking needs encouraged.”
“I would answer this question by saying to focus on the money! This City’s infrastructure is in front of us every day as we move around this City. We see how we need to improve our streets, sidewalks, and parks. The City has a plan called the Capital Improvement Plan with the steps to make this happen and a time frame within which to do that. But at the core of how to make that happen is how to pay for it with no new taxes. Lemon Grove needs to continue to find new revenue sources to pay for the continual improvement of our infrastructure and programs as well as keeping us safe. The Great Recession taught us that we can cut staff, defer raises, kill programs and that keeps us from slipping further into a financial hole. But, those steps don’t keep Lemon Grove moving forward!”
“I appreciate this “Free Zone”; a chance to tell my story. I was born and raised in Lemon Grove. I attended San Miguel Elementary School, Lemon Grove Middle School and Helix High. I was on the LGMS Marching Band and Helix’s Girls Wrestling Team. I understand teamwork. I know this City.”
“I am a local business owner, employing Lemon Grove residents and using Lemon Grove businesses. I have a degree from Grossmont College and have taken business classes. I understand how to make a business profitable and how to find money.”
“I have chosen to open my business in Lemon Grove and raise my son here. As a single parent, I understand the struggles of making ends meet while trying to improve one’s quality of life. I love this City and believe I can make it an even better place in which to raise my son.”
“I have never hid the fact that my mother is the Mayor of this City. I have heard about the issues, triumphs and problems involving Lemon Grove for the last 20 years. I don’t always agree with my mother and will tell her so, but I know how important teamwork is and won’t let that relationship impact my work on Council.”
“As I look forward to the next few years for this City, I see the General Plan Update looming in 2016. I remember the battles starting in 1994 over that General Plan but the outcome of the work the residents, businesses and Council did put us on the path towards a higher quality of life. We have more sidewalks, more programs, more improvement in our downtown, bike paths that connect to the regional bike network, improved trolley stations, and more businesses. We have an opportunity in two years to continue to improve our quality of life when Lemon Grove starts the General Plan Update. I would appreciate your vote on November 4 so I can work with you to make Lemon Grove better.”
Howard P. Cook
“I am very proud of the completion on the Main Street Promenade Project of the Year Award by the American Public Works Association. The completion of the new Lemon Grove Library on School Lane.”
“I would like to see us move forward with the walk and bike path from the Broadway Trolley Station to the Massachusetts Trolley Station.”
“I would love to see more youth programs here in our city.”
“I think the business community needs to have a Merchant’s Association. We don’t have a Chamber of Commerce. They need to have a voice in our city as well.”
“I believe we need to hire full-time security at the Main Street Promenade. Since building the Transit Station, we have had an increase in crime. Safety has always been a priority for me. We need to make people feel safe when enjoying the Promenade.”
“Since being elected to the City Council in 2010, we have balanced the budget four years in a row. The past council had a shortfall two years prior, and had to borrow from the reserves in order to balance the budget. I led the restructuring of the Recreation Department, and save the city over $200,000. I have also pushed for street and sidewalk improvements. This past year we have paved more streets, and have fixed more sidewalks than ever in the past. Yes I have worked on many other projects that have been completed. If I were to be re-elected one of my goals would be toward more public safety. The possible hiring of another police officer of traffic officer would be my top priority.”
“I have always done what is in the best interest of Lemon Grove. I was born and raised here in Lemon Grove. I attended school here. I am proud to say after 60 years, this is my city?
Jennifer Mendoza
Law Library Manager
“In the last four years, the largest projects to be completed in Lemon Grove were the Citronica One and Two housing projects and Promenade Park. As a Planning Commissioner, I reviewed and suggested changes to these projects before they were presented to the City Council. The City is required by the State to include a certain number of low-income housing units. I recommended these projects to help our City achieve this quota and because the projects were in close proximity to public transportation, shopping, churches, post office, library and schools, thus encouraging walking, biking and public transit use. I was also a member of the citizens’ group that suggested lowering the height of the projects and building materials that were more in tune with our Downtown Village plan. We also helped design the park to be a unique reflection of Lemon Grove history and culture.”
“If elected, I would direct the City to explore every avenue possible to make much-needed street improvements and add safe walkways and paths in our town. I would work with our Sheriff’s Department to encourage more senior volunteer patrols in Lemon Grove, which would put more eyes on the street and free up our officers to pursue more serious offenders. I would continue with my current efforts to form a Recreation Council in Lemon Grove, which would advise the City on recreation needs and explore outside funding opportunities.
“Through my extensive community involvement and recent campaign canvassing, I have come to the conclusion that the citizens and business owners of Lemon Grove are most concerned about the following: poor street maintenance; lack of safe walking areas; trash; loitering at the trolley station and downtown; unsafe intersections; and unchecked traffic speeds. If we want to attract more businesses and residents to Lemon Grove, we need to improve these areas and make our town one in which people desire to work and live.”
“The combination of my experience, leadership qualities and community involvement, make me your top choice for Lemon Grove City Council. I’ve been on the Lemon Grove Planning Commission for over 10 years and am currently the Chair of the Planning Commission. I work well with City staff and am very well versed on how our City is run. Over the years, I have served on the boards of the following entities, often serving as President and Chair: PTA, Boy Scout Council, Little League, Soroptimist, and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Currently, I am an active member of Soroptimist Int’l of Lemon Grove, Lemon Grove Thrive, Lemon Grove Academy Site Council, Lemon Grove Healthy Eating Active Living Zone, Relay for Life and the Resident Leadership Academy. I also manage a food pantry for the needy at St. John of the Cross church. I plan to stay involved in the community for several reasons. First, because I have always felt that it’s important to give back and to be an active participant in your community. Second, as a City Council member, it will be even more important to be present in the community in order to garner feedback and information on issues that are important to our citizens.”
“Finally, I am endorsed by Lemon Grove Councilmembers Georg Gastil and Racquel Vasquez, Lemon Grove School Board Members Blanca Brown, Jay Bass and Tim Shaw, Lemon Grove Planning Commissioners Bob Bailey, Susan Yepiz and Sean Cole, and Lemon Grove Firefighters Local #2728 IAFS. I hope to have your vote on Nov. 4!”
Jerry Jones
“There are so many improvements I’ve been part of in my 12 years on council. The most recent have been a dog park at Barry Street, a new Park at Broadway and Lemon Grove Ave, and senior housing at North and Olive. We have taken steps to make the Recreation Center more available and are looking to implement more youth programs as revenues allow. In the past four years we’ve balanced the budget and restored our rainy-day reserve goal of 25%. For the past four years we have also reduced scheduled increases to sewer rates. With funding we’ve set aside, we’ll begin construction next year on a new off-ramp alignment at 94 and Lemon Grove Avenue. This should relieve congestion at Broadway and LGA. Planning for an exciting new walking/biking trail along Main Street is currently underway.”
“For our future I want to see an increase in our budget for street maintenance. I’ve proposed a sidewalk grant program where neighbors and neighborhoods could get together, apply as a group, and take direct control of their neighborhood’s improvements. I’ve talked to the Chamber of Commerce about working with us to try and pull the business and property owners together to clean up the south side of downtown. I’ve asked the city manager to look into private security for our new park. If that’s successful then we could investigate more security for our other parks. Once the “Connect Main Street” plans for a walking/biking park and trail is complete the next step is to secure funding to build it. The grant that funded the planning came through the committee I sit on at SANDAG. That same source has funding to do the construction and I will make sure that stays on the radar.”
“As we move out of the ‘Great Recession,’ as its been called, we must not let our guard down. Wise decisions and cautious spending are critical. The last thing we need is to get ahead of ourselves and feel the need to ask citizens for more taxes. If we do this right there will be opportunities in the near future for one-time surges in spending on infrastructure like streets and sidewalks as we restore suspended services or add others. There will also be opportunities to re-evaluate spending priorities as we restore services beyond the base levels we’ve been at through this crisis.”
“I was trained and began my professional career a mechanic. My professional titles have included mechanic, business owner/operator, and manager. I am currently self-employed, running a home occupation business. We bought our home here in Lemon Grove in September of 1977. We started our family’s auto repair business here in 1981 and our family of three boys that next year. The boys attended school at Golden Avenue Elementary, Lemon Grove Middle and Helix.”
“My community service has included Golden Avenue School Site Council, PTA, Lemon Grove Music Parents, Kiwanis, Chamber of Commerce, School Board and City Council. My leadership roles have included President of Lemon Grove Middle PTA, Lemon Grove Music Parents, Kiwanis and School Board. I’ve served as vice chairman of the Regional Planning Committee at SANDAG and am currently the Vice Chair of the Metro Wastewater JPA. I’ve served as chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Legislative Committee and I chaired the SANDAG Regional Planning Committee for two years. I am currently the Mayor Pro Tem on City Council.”
“An elected body is strongest when there is a mixture of experienced members and new members. Our City Council has had a new member at each of the past three elections. With 12 years on council I represent that essential element of experience, continuity, and the community’s memory while remaining open to new ideas and a changing world. Though my volunteer time, community service and time on School Board and Council, I bring a long and experienced connection to the community. In addition to my 12 years on council I have the history of the 9 years that I attended council meetings and 1.5 years I attended Planning Commission meetings representing the Chamber of Commerce. As a long time representative on regional boards I’ve served in numerous leadership roles and I’ve earned the respect of many regional leaders, ensuring Lemon Grove a strong voice at the regional table.”
“I have an extensive history of community involvement and have demonstrated an ability to put service before self. I possess an extensive knowledge of the City, planning at a regional level, and wastewater issues and operations. My history will be especially important in three areas. The region is currently preparing it’s comprehensive plan. I am a past chair of planning and the longest sitting member with the most history. For wastewater I am the current vice chair and second longest sitting member. My history here will be key as San Diego begins the re-permitting of the Point Loma treatment plant that we use to process our wastewater. Finally, in the next few years Lemon Grove will begin the process of our General Plan update. I am one of two members on council that were actively involved in our last update.”