More Best of La Mesa ballot raffle winners!
Balloting for the 2019 Best of La Mesa is finished! Winners will be announced in our special Best of La Mesa issue on May 24.
Until then, we are drawing the names of readers who voted for their favorite businesses and by doing so entered into our prize drawing, featuring prizes from our Best of La Mesa sponsors — Fitness 101, D’Amato’s Pizza, Konichiwa Sushi, Lamplighters Theatre, Uneeke Boutique, Centifonti’s, Yum Yum Donuts, and Little Roma — who generously donated gifts for us to award voters.
We’d like to congratulate our third round of winners! Angela Massucci won a $50 gift card from D’Amatos Pizza; Jara young won a $50 gift card from Little Roma; Chelsea Bradford won a $25 gift card from Konnichiwa Sushi; Priscilla Soro won 18 doughnuts from Yum Yum Donuts; and Daniel Goularte, Rosita Gonzalez, Erin Kieffer, Tori LaBahn, Dana Polhill and Rachelle Salas all won a free self-defense class from Fitness 101.
Thanks to all those who participated in the 2019 Best of La Mesa and helped recognize some of the local businesses that make this city the Jewel of the Hills.
City launches historic resources inventory update
In collaboration with the La Mesa Historical Society and assisted by faculty and students from San Diego State University Department of Anthropology, the city of La Mesa has begun work on a comprehensive update to its Historic Resources Inventory. Originally adopted in 1983, the Historic Resources Inventory is a listing of properties that have the potential to be eligible for nomination and listing on the city’s Historic Landmarks Register. The inventory has had only a few properties added since the 1980s, and since that time, a majority of properties within La Mesa are now over 50 years old.
The multi-year inventory update project will be carried out in phases, beginning with a city-wide reconnaissance survey. Students and volunteers will be canvassing neighborhoods as a first step to identifying sites that are potentially eligible. This involves collecting sidewalk-level information about property age, condition, and architectural merit. Supplementing the fieldwork effort, La Mesa Historical Society volunteers will be conducting research on the history of La Mesa’s neighborhoods and individual sites of interest. Opportunities will be available for residents to contribute their own knowledge, stories, and experience to build an inclusive record of La Mesa’s rich history.
Community-wide benefits of the inventory update include providing important information to property owners about the historical value of their property and fostering community pride and sense of place. A finding of eligibility can inform property owners about their options when considering alterations and improvements. Similarly, a conclusion of ineligibility can streamline larger development projects where environmental review is required.
The city of La Mesa does not intend to initiate any historical designations as a result of the survey, as local regulations require property-owner consent prior to conferring any landmark status. Property owners whose sites are identified as eligible for historic designation will be able to submit landmark nominations for consideration.
For questions about the inventory update, contact Senior Planner Allyson Kinnard at 619-667-1196.
Spring Fling merges with Summer Bash
On April 1, April Fool’s Day, La Mesa Chamber of Commerce announced — and no joking — that it was merging its Spring Fling event with the Summer Bash Business Expo this year. Spring Fling was originally slated for April 25 at La Mesa Community Center, but due to ongoing refurbishing at the center, the chamber cancelled the popular springtime business event.
“The chamber looks forward to entertaining the community [at Summer Bash] in the newly refurbished La Mesa Community Center on Aug. 15,” said Chamber of Commerce President Mary England in a press release.
Tickets for Summer Bash will be $15 per person and will be available soon through the chamber website, lamesachamber.com, or by calling the chamber office 619-465-7700. The event will feature raffle prizes, a silent auction and over 48 free door prizes and give local businesses a unique opportunity to network with each other.
Positions available on city boards and commissions
Applications are now being accepted for volunteer positions on the city of La Mesa’s boards and commissions. The deadline for submission of applications is 5:30 p.m., Monday, June 3, in the City Clerk’s office at La Mesa City Hall, 8130 Allison Ave. Applications may be obtained at City Hall or from the city of La Mesa website at bit.ly/2UhPWT7.
The La Mesa City Council will be interviewing applicants for appointments to the city’s advisory boards and commissions at their meeting on June 11. A total of 22 vacancies will become available on the Community Relations and Veterans Commission, Community Services Commission, Design Review Board, Environmental Sustainability Commission, Historic Preservation Commission, La Mesa Community Parking Commission, Personnel Appeal Board, Planning Commission, and Youth Advisory Commission.
“The mayor and City Council members value the input from our community volunteers,” said City Clerk Megan Wiegelman in a press release. “By serving as a member on one of the boards or commissions, residents have an opportunity to assist in the decisions that affect their neighborhoods and city.”
Further information can be obtained from the Office of the City Clerk, 619-667-1120 or by visiting the city’s website at bit.ly/2UhPWT7.
La Mesa resident honored for tennis program
La Mesa resident Conan Lorenzo, who is tennis director at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club, received the Janet Louer Junior Team Tennis National Organizer of the Year at the United States Tennis Association Awards.
Lorenzo was recognized for successfully implementing USTA tennis programs, generating interest in USTA junior team tennis, creatively developing funding for junior team tennis, promoting community tennis association participation, and increasing the number of participants from 250 to 1,400. He also played a role in donating thousands of tennis balls to after-school tennis programs, hospitals, school classrooms and animal shelters.
The award is named after Janet Louer, an individual who was instrumental in the development of junior tennis during her lifetime. As the administrator for USTA Junior Team Tennis in Georgia, she built the state championships into the largest youth team tennis state championships in the nation. Her expertise also was utilized in the development of the national championships for the program.
Past recipients include Mark Platt, Deby Caldwell, Oliver Summers, Jennifer Toomy, Leslie Jackson, Heidi Stryker, Justin DePietropaolo, Julie Watson Dick, Lisa Bowen, Laura Mitchell, Rita Gladstone, and Carla O’Connor.
La Mesa to celebrate Tree City designation with Earth Day event
The Arbor Day Foundation has named La Mesa a 2018 Tree City USA for the 39th consecutive year. La Mesa achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: a tree board or department, a tree-care ordinance, an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita and an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.
“Tree City USA communities see the impact an urban forest has in a community first hand,” said Dan Lambe, president of the Arbor Day Foundation, in a press release. “Additionally, recognition brings residents together and creates a sense of community pride, whether it’s through volunteer engagement or public education.”
To celebrate Arbor Day this year, the La Mesa Park and Recreation Foundation and the city of La Mesa will be hosting the La Mesa Earth Day Festival on Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Harry Griffen Park, 9550 Milden St. This free family event will include interactive booths, vendors, and the Pedal for the Planet Trail Ride. For more information about the event, visit bit.ly/2IoqpGw or call 619-667-1319.
Trees provide multiple benefits to a community when properly planted and maintained. They help to improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home-cooling costs, remove air pollutants and provide wildlife habitat, among many other benefits. More information on the program is available at arborday.org/TreeCityUSA.
Police use-of-force bill goes forward
The Assembly Committee on Public Safety passed the California Act to Save Lives (AB 392), legislation authored by Assembly members Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) and Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) April 9, aimed at reducing civilian deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers. The contentious bill passed out of committee on a 5-2 vote.
Among those testifying in support were two veteran California law enforcement officers.
“In the end, AB 392 stands for a simple rule: Police shouldn’t use deadly force when it is safe and reasonable to address the situation some other way,” said former Irvine Deputy Police Chief Jeff Noble. “This is not a radical change. Indeed, AB 392 provides a standard that’s consistent with much of current law and policy that most of the public agrees with and many community members assume is already in place.”
AB 392 will authorize deadly force only to defend against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury. Officers would be trained to this standard and be required to employ de-escalation tactics whenever possible.
Liz Medrano provided emotional testimony about the loss of her son, Christian Escobedo, who was sleeping when he was killed by a Los Angeles Police Department officer in January of 2018. “I will never get to hold or hug my son again. That’s agony for a mom,” she said. “After Christian was killed, people told stories about how Christian carried in groceries for older neighbors, took children for haircuts, and just loved our community. We are all missing Christian. It’s a great loss.”
Ciara Hamilton, whose cousin, Diante Yarber, died in April of 2018 after police fired 30 times into his car, said she just wants to feel safe. “I want to feel protected by law enforcement, not fear for my life because they mistake my phone for a gun — or shoot into a vehicle that I’m in because of the color of my skin,” she said. “We can save lives by making sure police are trained to use de-escalation tactics before just shooting and taking someone’s life.”
“This bill has opened old wounds for a lot of people,” Assembly member Weber said. “My hope is that we give them justice and that the loss of their loved ones will be redeemed by creating a culture of policing dedicated to saving lives rather than taking them.”
“Today’s good news on the California Act to Save Lives means we are one step closer to a solution to protect our communities. No one should fear for their safety in the presence of law enforcement,” said Deacon Tom Cartwright, San Diego Organizing Project leader at City of Hope International Church.
AB 392 will move to the Assembly Rules Committee. The bill is expected to be considered by the full Assembly before the end of May.
SANDAG reduces traffic with new work schedule
SANDAG business offices are operating under a compressed work schedule and will be closed to the public every other Monday, starting April 8.
“We must walk the walk as regional leaders in alternatives to driving alone,” said SANDAG Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata in a press release. “This new schedule gives SANDAG staff the opportunity to do their part in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion.”
A compressed work schedule allows SANDAG employees to work a traditional work week in less than the traditional number of days. This may be accomplished by adjusting a traditional work schedule to 80 hours in nine days.
SANDAG Downtown offices will remain open to the public nine days every two weeks with every other Monday designated as the office closure day. For a full list of SANDAG business dates and hours of operation, visit sandag.org/about.
The Freeway Service Patrol and 511 Roadside Assistance call center will continue to provide service on Monday closure days.
More than 25 local employers active in the SANDAG iCommute program have also adopted compressed work schedules. The SANDAG iCommute program supports commuters in the region with an array of transportation alternatives and provides assistance to local businesses, helping them to develop and implement customized employee commuter benefit programs that lower costs, increase productivity, and help the environment. To learn more, visit 511sd.com/iCommute.
MTS rolls out new trolley cars
The next generation of trolley cars geared up and began service on the UC San Diego Blue Line on Saturday, April 20. The new trolley cars enter service as part of the 5000-series, representing the third generation of modern, low-floor vehicles that have been in operation on MTS’ light rail network since 2005.
For the past seven months, MTS has been steadily receiving new Siemens S700 trolley cars as part of an order of 45 vehicles placed in 2016. The first trolley car was delivered last August, in the iconic red paint scheme of the San Diego Trolley, with the remaining vehicles expected to be delivered over the next two years.
The 45 new S700 light rail vehicles (LRVs) have the same low-floor characteristics as newer models in MTS’ current fleet, but feature a redesigned middle section to improve passenger flow and provide door-to-door accessibility for riders in wheelchairs or other mobility devices. To facilitate cleaning and maintenance, train seats will be upholstered standard in vinyl rather than the cloth used in previous models. Additional features include improved interior sightlines for added security and relocated operational equipment to facilitate easier access by maintenance technicians.
“We worked closely over the last three years to ensure that these vehicles meet the needs of our system and our riders,” said MTS Chief Executive Officer Paul Jablonski at a press event for the new trolleys on April 17.
In addition to putting the vehicles into service now, MTS will use the new vehicles to increase service on the UC San Diego Blue and Orange lines beginning June 9.