La Mesa Stories

La Mesa's last skirmishes with illegal pot dispensaries?

An assessment of landscape in advance of November 8 vote

La Mesa voters on November 8 will decide whether to approve a citizen-sponsored initiative to allow medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, a proposal voters rejected in November 2014. Since then, the La Mesa City ...

Wartime on the boulevard

Riston Diggs finishes his military stint and is ready to rap

La Mesa–based MC Riston Diggs (the Known Unknowns) recorded his debut album, The Blvd Experience, following the completion of a nine-year Navy career where he served as an aviation administrator. I asked him about the ...

La Mesa's Oktoberfest becomes different animal

City hires event company charged with making it authentically German

The La Mesa City Council on June 28 voted unanimously to stage Oktoberfest, a rebranded three-day event that will start September 30 and be managed by EventWerks, LLC. EventWerks’ website shows Oktoberfests in Orange County, ...

Why change, La Mesa?

Developer describes future vision of the Village

Change continues in the La Mesa area known as the Village or downtown. One highly visible part of this change was the sometimes-maligned Streetscape project, after which several businesses departed or will soon do so. ...

Pastor Burkey appreciates the wrestling

Christ Lutheran Church: “Developing dynamic disciples for Christ.”

Membership: 1000 Pastor: Richard Burkey Age: 56 Born: Chicago Formation: Concordia College, Austin, TX; Concordia College, River Forest, IL; Concordia Theological Seminary, St. Louis, MO. Years Ordained: 31 San Diego Reader: How long do you ...

La Mesa car show series gets the green light

Stopped for a year due to Streetscape, council votes yea

The La Mesa City Council on May 24 gave the green light to sponsoring the City of La Mesa Classic Car Show on La Mesa Boulevard on eight Thursdays, starting July 7; the shows will ...

Urban Assault via VW

Busted bug driver talks about video that helped cops pop him

“Ultimately [the police] caught me by my name being on the side of the car, not blurring out my license plate, and I didn’t expect the video to go that viral.” Blake Wilkey, 27, was ...

La Mesa's Legacy Park nearly done

Loaded with symbols of city's history — time capsule to make more

People passing by the intersection of La Mesa Boulevard and Allison Avenue have seen a former traffic island transformed into a triangle now named Legacy Park. Eight mosaic-covered columns and a 450-pound bronze snail are ...

La Mesa dog-and-cat-friendlier than ever

A look at city's 2016-2017 fee schedule

When the fiscal year starts on July 1, La Mesa residents will see a decrease in some animal-related fees, a permit will be required for commercial haunted houses, and nonprofit groups and service clubs will ...

Streetscaped out of La Mesa Village

“You have sell a lot of candles to pay a $5000 lease.”

Walking through the La Mesa downtown area known as the Village, it is striking to see numerous signs testifying to change in this area of small businesses: real estate and property management signs, in the ...

Everyone will be moving to La Mesa

Development plans on the books include lots of residential units

A reader's request for a follow-up on my February 2015 story about vacant land on El Cajon Boulevard that La Mesa resident Linda Johnson labeled an "eyesore" produced information about that location and details about ...

Breaking the curse

Cucina Basilico serves authentic Italian in a La Mesa strip mall

There’s a strip mall near my home in La Mesa that seems to be a black hole for restaurants. They seem to disappear almost as soon as they open. Some of the places that have ...

It’s April — La Mesa's Oktoberfest bill still unpaid

"We have to have partners that hold up their end."

The bill for $47,900 in city services for La Mesa's Oktoberfest 2015 has gone to collection, and it may be the last time the city will work to collect from the group that runs the ...

Depot Springs due this summer in La Mesa

Brewery, restaurant, music venue back on track

Following several months of delays, construction has resumed on La Mesa's next brewery, Depot Springs Beer Co. Originally projected to open in December 2015, Depot Springs founder Aaron Dean pressed pause on the project last ...

La Mesa mobilizes on trail plan

Pedestrians and bicyclists can look forward to 22.1 miles of routes

The La Mesa City Council on February 23 unanimously adopted a resolution approving the Urban Trails Mobility Action Plan, "a road map for expansion and improvements for urban trails." The plan created a 22.1-mile network ...

A farewell to Charlie

Funeral for two-tour Korean veteran has huge biker turnout

The mission alert went out for a military funeral for an Army combat veteran of the Korean War, the oft-described “forgotten war.” Staging was on a Thursday morning (January 21) at the VFW hall in ...

La Mesa council bans mobile dispensaries

"...powered or unpowered, licensed or unlicensed, manned or unmanned ..."

The La Mesa City Council on December 8 unanimously approved the first reading of two ordinances banning medical marijuana cultivation, deliveries, and mobile dispensaries. One ordinance includes a misdemeanor penalty for dispensing and delivery. In ...

Restaurant chain thrives; owner’s flagship dies

Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza vs. Roppongi

When I heard that Roppongi in La Jolla was closing down after 17 years, I wasn’t surprised. Owner Sami Ladeki said the restaurant’s closure was due to changing neighborhood tastes. I always liked Roppongi and ...

La Mesa Oktoberfest report

Less teenagers, less cost, and less business = mixed reviews

The La Mesa Village Merchants Association threw their first Oktoberfest 42 years ago. Their website states “over 100,000 attendees” now flock to the annual gathering. With the disruption from the La Mesa Streetscape Project and ...

File under: La Mesa Lunkheads

Suspected stun-gunning purse-snatcher caught

A couple suspected in a purse-snatching incident were arrested Wednesday night (November 18), police are reporting. On November 5, a suspect later identified as 18-year-old Dante Bahena approached a woman in her 50s who had ...

Michoacán carnitas in La Mesa

Carnitas Uruapan specializes in carnitas and Uruapan

On a corner lot in La Mesa, a block from busy I-94 and sharing a tight parking lot with a dry cleaner, stands a brightly colored brick house called Carnitas Uruapan Mexican food. Emphasis on ...

Lake Murray rebel has a short run

Cops take down violent young man the old-fashioned way

On November 16, at about 2 p.m., a 20-year-old Caucasian male started screaming and verbally threatening Lake Murray walkers near the 1¾-mile marker along the road that runs around the lake. According to a few ...

The bars of El Cajon Boulevard: 70th to Baltimore

Out here at the edge of East

“No matter where you are on the Boulevard, no matter what part of town, you’re always on the Boulevard,” says Chino. The Boulevard, of course, is El Cajon, and Chino, whose long dark beard sways ...

Giant, ugly storage facility okayed

It's zoned commercial, next to the freeway — what's the problem?

The La Mesa City Council on October 27 voted 3-1 to reject resident Christina Martin's appeal of the planning commission's September 16 approval of a conditional-use permit for StorQuest La Mesa, a three-story self-storage facility. ...

Time to forget about Streetscape debacle

Clock donated to La Mesa for installation at Lookout Park

The La Mesa City Council on October 27 voted 3-0 to accept the donation of a two-faced, 220-pound, 12-foot-tall street clock. The timepiece, valued at about $8400, is a gift from the nonprofit La Mesa ...

Octopus is the star fish

Los Pinos Seafood shines in a strip mall

I try to differentiate between places that are worth driving to and places that are good if I’m in the neighborhood. Taco shops are part of what makes San Diego great, but most of them ...

'Wiches and brew at La Mesa Oktoberfest

Santa Maria-style BBQ from Oceanside and root beer from right-here in the Village

The two old crones stir the vats surrounded by circling bats. Okay, no bats. No quoting from Macbeth. No crones. But these gals really are stirring up brews in vats, with billows of fog coming ...

Year-long La Mesa Village renovation takes its toll

New sidewalks, no customers

Sometime during the final weekend of August, Ari Bejar made a decision that would reverberate throughout the downtown La Mesa Village. He carefully hand-lettered his final message in chalk on a menu board, and come ...

La Mesans' gripes with group homes

Residential treatment facilities on Wellesley Street scrutinized

La Mesa vice mayor Bill Baber on October 2 will vote in favor of a League of California Cities resolution "to preserve therapeutic environments for group homes and avoid impacts of concentration of alcohol and ...

La Mesa Village still a mess

Streetscape to continue after Oktoberfest

Construction of the long-term project known in La Mesa as "Streetscape" will continue, including after Oktoberfest. Regarding Streetscape, according to the city's website, “The objective of the project is to revitalize and beautify the downtown ...

Helix Brewing off to a charming start in La Mesa

A man, a plan, a new craft brewery

Cameron Ball spent nearly three years planning Helix Brewing Co., and the long effort paid off when La Mesa's second brewery and tasting room opened in late August. In fall 2012 the young home brewer ...

A master of MasterChef in La Mesa

Sandoval beat out 19 other contestants to make the top 3

La Mesa’s Claudia Sandoval is one of the top-three finalists for this season of MasterChef, a cooking show on the Fox Network. She stands to win a book deal and $250,000. When she was picked ...

Narumi Sushi makes perfection for about eight bucks

The surprise wasn’t the satisfying sushi but the chicken katsudon

Eating good sushi in San Diego often means visiting a strip mall. Many count Pacific Beach’s Sushi Ota among the best in town (it’s next to a 7-Eleven), and Kaito Sushi holds it down in ...

Feast! Best of the rest

Worthy restaurant spots from East County to South Bay

Foodies living close to the city's center are waking up to the fact that there are excellent reasons to drive all over this county. Reader feasters have caught on to worthy spots in East County, ...

La Mesa Village's Cosmos...closed. Yelp!

Coffee shop (and much more) seems a casualty of sidewalk improvements

Not a good start to the week for early risers or musicians: on Monday morning, September 1, the regulars at Cosmos Coffee Café in La Mesa arrived to find locked doors and a hand-chalked sign ...

La Mesa broker suspended for forgery

Decision against Robert Earl Holaday to be appealed

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), which regulates brokerage firms and brokers selling securities in the United States, has fined Robert Earl Holaday of La Mesa $10,000 and suspended him from association with FINRA members ...

Fishy paint job for La Mesa catwalk

Will artful sidewalk ward off city's less desirable elements?

When school started on August 13 at Maryland Avenue Elementary in La Mesa, students were pleased to find that a nearby formerly unkempt walkway had been changed into a work of art. After City of ...

New La Mesa library? Eh.

New city hall and 180-car parking garage, definitely

Although the La Mesa branch library wasn't included in the study unanimously authorized by the La Mesa City Council on August 11, La Mesa Friends of the Library president John Schmitz implored the council to ...

Two Oktoberfest weekends possible for La Mesa

Downtown permit conditional on payment of fees

People who enjoy October celebrations featuring a beer garden and entertainment could have two weekends for celebrating in La Mesa. The La Mesa City Council on July 28 voted 4-1 to approve the La Mesa ...

Park Station plans on hold

The decisions of South Baltimore, LLC, to put on hold its plan for Park Station at the Crossroads of La Mesa means there will be no hearing at the July 28 La Mesa City Council ...

Computer bandit strikes La Mesa Starbucks

Mind your Mac

La Mesa residents need to guard their computers more carefully. On July 21, between the hours of 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., activity at the La Mesa Starbucks (located on the corner of Kiowa Drive ...

In pursuit of calm in La Mesa

Revamp of Harbinson Avenue after traffic circles fail

Three months after the La Mesa City Council voted to remove two traffic circles on Harbinson Avenue, lawmakers on July 14 unanimously approved a plan to slow traffic through an estimated $41,000 worth of traffic-calming ...

Centifonti’s Bar & Restaurant serves it all

It’s a sports bar! It’s a family restaurant! It’s an ice cream parlor!

Centifonti’s Bar & Restaurant in La Mesa offers not only breakfast, lunch, and dinner but a full bar, handmade chocolates and pastries, and homemade gelato. I don’t know exactly what category this family-owned restaurant falls ...

Distant connections

Theater about letters about books makes for a slow, repetitive 84 Charing Cross Road at Lamplighters Community

Lamplighters Community Theatre’s 78th season opens with a drama, based on Helene Hanff’s autobiography, which has been adapted several times for the screen, television, and radio. What makes the material challenging to produce is that ...

Welcome to the village — now calm down!

Reason for elimination of well-used right-turn lane becomes clear

For many La Mesa residents (and visitors) accustomed to driving east along La Mesa Boulevard from University Avenue into the “village” area, it is unclear why ongoing construction eliminated the well-used right-turn lane at the ...

Raise the deck, remove the heads

The definitive La Mesa water-conservation report

During the past year, the City of La Mesa's water-conservation efforts included removing 351 irrigation heads on Lake Murray Boulevard and Baltimore Drive medians and redirecting spray heads to trees on the medians, according to ...

A roll down the catwalk

City of La Mesa quickly follows wheelchair-access request

On Thursday (June 18th), a La Mesa walkway running east to west from Tufts Street to Maryland Avenue was made ADA compliant following a family's request to make that walkway wheelchair accessible. After the request, ...

Reel Kids series offers big-screen fun at rock-bottom prices

There’s a good chance your children have never left the house to visit the Emerald City

Looking for a low cost way to engage the kids and beat the summer heat? Reading Cinema’s Reel Kids Summer Movie Festival may be the ticket. Starting June 17 and continuing for nine weeks, Reading’s ...

Meanwhile, over at Canine Corners...

La Mesans discuss raising dogs-per-household limit from 2 to 4

About four hours before the La Mesa City Council's May 26 discussion of a proposal to raise the number of dogs allowed in a home from two to four, people in Canine Corners dog park ...

Platform 1888 approved

Fletcher Parkway in La Mesa about to get a whole lotta venue

In a July 2014 Blurt, Aaron Dean was introduced as the La Mesa landlord behind a redevelopment that meant the end to a Fletcher Parkway strip mall and its neighborhood bar. Dean mentioned at the ...

You can't always get what you want

Aging singles are on a crash-course with the inevitable in Last Chance Romance at Lamplighters Community Theatre

Leonard and Myra are not our typical star-crossed lovers. Well, not if Myra has anything to say about it. Desperate for her last chance at love, Myra will do anything to trap the timorous Leonard ...

Six stories on Baltimore? No, no, no

And does anyone remember the Classic Cat in La Mesa?

The La Mesa Planning Commission on May 20 voted 4-2 against recommending that the city council approve the revised specific plan for Park Station at the Crossroads of La Mesa, a mixed-use development proposed for ...

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