By JEFF CLEMETSON
Laura Lothian is hoping the third time is indeed the charm on her now third run for a seat on the La Mesa City Council — that and a new traditional approach to campaigning.
“This will be my most professional run ever,” she said. “I am a do-it-myself person — I don’t ask people for things I just do it myself, and this time I will be raising money accepting donations and now I have people expecting things from me and I have to deliver so this will be a different election.”
In her last election in November, Lothian received just under 19% of the vote — just behind former City Council member Kristine Allesio (22%), newly-elected Council member Jack Shu (23%) and reelected Council member Colin Parent (24%). But with her new embrace of political consultants to help with messaging, website and fundraising, as well as endorsements from conservative groups and individuals like the Lincoln Club, Republican Party of San Diego County and Carl DeMaio, Lothian is hoping to win a council seat just one year later. Although her strategy might be different, Lothian’s political platform is not.
“My opinion on governing and individual liberties and pro business hasn’t changed,” she said. “I’m still that person who [believes] the businesses are the lifeblood of any community. People forget sometimes that our parks our fire departments our school and our hospitals are all funded by business and businesses keep getting stomped on in this state and I think there is an overflow not getting the support they need all the way to the city level.”
Lothian, who has a successful career as a local realtor, said she wants to speak for business owners because she is one.
“So last year before the election, I suffered along with all the other business owners,” she said. “I watched business owners crying and losing their life savings and not being afraid of the pandemic as much as being afraid of being shut down permanently.”
Lothian said she fears another shutdown could be “around the corner” as the COVID-19 Delta variant spreads and makes headlines nationally and locally.
“Shutdowns] didn’t work the first time and I don’t think it will work a second time and I don’t think our economy could take a second shut down,” she said. “I think we’ll collapse and a collapsed economy will bring all kinds of nightmares. It will bring crime, it will bring suicides, depression, drugs, alcohol abuse, loss of employment, loss of homes — we can’t go through it again.”
In addition to being against government agencies shutting down businesses, Lothian said she will also oppose vaccine mandates and onerous mask requirements. She said she opposes the recent decision by the County Board of Supervisors to recommend employers mandate vaccines for employees,
“I know that city councils have the power to do that [for city employees],” she said, and shared that her daughter was recently hired to work for the city of Cary, North Carolina but would have needed to wear a mask at work. “She said she won’t do it and rejected the job.”
Lothian also pointed out that the city of Los Angeles voted to require vaccine passports to enter interior public spaces.
“If that vote comes to La Mesa, I’m going to be a voice against that,” she said. “I know this is federal and not local, but this is important: Up until five years ago, if you were terminally ill in the United States of America, you are dying, and you’re begging your doctor for experimental drugs, you’ll do anything to live, our government blocked it. They did not let terminally ill, dying people try experimental drugs. This same government is now coercing healthy people to try experimental drugs. That is insane.”
In addition to a pro-business campaign, Lothian also stresses her pro-police stance.
“I speak to police off the record, on a personal level, and I know that we have some — I can’t speak for all — that are not feeling the love. They feel demoralized,” she said. “If I’m on City Council, they’re going to have a friend on City Council, someone who really appreciates what they do and is not naive. I recognize how hard it is to keep a community safe and I think a lot of people don’t realize that — and I do, so they would have my full support.”
When it comes to the issue of development in La Mesa, Lothian said she sees it as a “great debate” that she can passionately see from both sides.
“I am in real estate and I believe that property owners have the right to develop their property within zoning restrictions or whatever,” she said. “And the other side of me is like, well you also love the charm of La Mesa and erecting these monolithic, half-mile long stretches of condensed apartments on railroad tracks is not charming.”
Lothian said the cause of “unattractive” high-density housing is government entities “trying to make public transit housing the thing.”
“So the vision is you live on public transit housing, you don’t need a car, you hop on trains and buses to get to work and go out and do your social life,” she explained. “And what I think is going to happen is you’re going to have high-density living and people are still going to have their cars and I believe Spring Street and Allison and Palm and all around here is going to get clogged like nobody’s business and instead of improving the environment, we’ll be polluting the environment.”
Another area of housing policy Lothian sees as problematic is the nationwide eviction moratorium implemented by the Centers for Disease Control, which she described as “unconstitutional.”
“I’ve got four clients right now that are in anguish because they need to sell. They can’t sell their homes, they can’t move into their own home, they can’t get rid of a tenant unless that tenant is a danger and if you don’t have property rights, where are we?” she said. “As a real estate person and someone who believes in property rights I think this whole moratorium has been a nightmare. All we’ve done is postpone the pain. I don’t know what to predict, what kind of nightmare we’re going to have but when that moratorium ends I have clients who are going to list their houses in a minute. So you multiply me by thousands of agents, what is that going to do to the market?”
Worrying about the direction of the real estate market is just one aspect in what motivated Lothian for her third run for City Council — one aspect of many that she thinks is heading La Mesa in the wrong direction.
“I’m personally terrified of the medical tyranny, the property rights tyranny all of it. I can’t believe what were living through and I just want to do my small part,” she said. “I’m running for City Council because I want to bring common sense back to the conversation. We have all gone off a cliff.”
For more information about Laura Lothian, visit www.lauraforlamesa.com.
— Reach editor Jeff Clemetson at firstname.lastname@example.org.