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Stories by Liz Swain

Social media has wrecked Cowles Mountain

Some say additional parking will bring more people to the area

A majority of Navajo Community Planners, Inc., on November 17 voted to recommend that the City of San Diego add 17 parallel-parking spaces near Cowles Mountain by removing the red curb on a portion of ...

This is not another weed ad in the Reader

La Mesa prepares to close illegal dispensaries after Prop J's failure

Since La Mesa voters on November 4 rejected a proposition to authorize and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries, the City of La Mesa will notify three dispensaries that they have ten days to "stop their business ...

Who is Greg Saska?

Carlsbad man who lost home in fire didn't leave neighborhood for long

In the six months since the May 14 Poinsettia Fire destroyed his two-bedroom adobe house, Greg Saska went from sleeping in his 1976 Mercedes 450 SE to living in a tent and then a 576-square-foot ...

SDSU students and parolees with intentions

Amount of Adobe Falls trespassers is down, but problems not over

The San Diego State University Police Department's efforts to keep trespassers out of Adobe Falls has resulted in "many fewer calls for service," corporal Mark Peterson told the Del Cerro Council on October 23. However, ...

Shrinkage of La Mesa parcel development

Some residents demand "no more than 4" stories; revised plan proposes 10

The La Mesa Planning Commission on October 1 voted 6-1 to recommend that the city council deny a specific plan for Crossroads of La Mesa at Park Station, a mixed-use project that would raise the ...

Here comes the neighborhood

La Mesa mobile-home park for seniors closes; nine homes planned for site

The La Mesa City Council last week unanimously approved a relocation impact report for Jennings Senior Park, a now-closed mobile-home park located on the 7300 block of Mohawk Street. A sign formerly displayed at the ...

Talking the talk in La Mesa

Council and mayoral candidates say what's on their minds at forum

At a September 18 candidates’ forum sponsored by the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, two mayoral hopefuls and five candidates for two city-council seats spoke to an audience of about 100 people. Topics included their ...

Free parking in La Mesa

Report says city may lose about $490,000 during streetscape project

The La Mesa City Council on September 9 voted 3-2 to temporarily suspend enforcement of parking meters downtown, a move to compensate for disruptions caused by the $5 million Downtown Village Streetscape Improvement Project. Starting ...

Former mayor Murphy objects to Bat Quarry

Mission Trails committee decides on naming and renaming trails

The Mission Trails Regional Park citizens' advisory committee on September 2 voted to recommend naming three trails and renaming two quarries and two park entrances. Former San Diego mayor Dick Murphy served on a subcommittee ...

Entertainment on the way for La Mesa

Hookah bar and sports bar get good news from city planners

The La Mesa Planning Commission on August 20 approved conditional-use permits for "performance entertainment" at two businesses: the Venetian Lounge (a hookah bar in a shopping center on the corner of Baltimore and Parkway drives) ...

When horseless, bike

Plans proceed for city-sanctioned BMX park

Navajo Community Planners, Inc., on August 18 voted unanimously in favor of developing a 12.5-acre bike-skills park in Mission Trails Regional Park, creating an adjacent 2-acre park, and upgrading the 4.3-mile portion of the San ...

La Mesa fed up with ad circulars dumped on driveways

Councilmembers agree that they give burglars "a clear message."

The La Mesa City Council on August 12 voted unanimously in favor of vice mayor Ruth Sterling's request for city attorney Glenn Sabine to investigate and report back on legal options to regulate the unsolicited ...

Violence a world away protested in El Cajon

"If they are killing us in the name of Jesus, we need to unite."

About 150 people and a light rain showed up at Prescott Promenade on August 2 for an evening rally to protest violence against Christians in Iraq and Syria. The rally, organized by the San Diego ...

Harshed mellow at “A Doobie Falls”

“Please find other sanctioned paths to hike...there are plenty in our beautiful city.”

To stop incidents of vandalism, drug use, and fires at Adobe Falls, SDSU authorities have posted "No Trespassing" signs and increased patrols on the land owned by the university. Campus police community liaison Briana Drost ...

Consider sales of Fritos and bean dip

Community planners in Grantville delay pot-shop decision

Grantville Navajo Community Planners, Inc., on July 21 voted 9-4 to delay a decision on the proposal to operate Grantville Greens, a 623-square-foot medical marijuana cooperative on the 4400 block of Glacier Avenue. The vote ...

La Mesa councilwoman stands up for vaping

"Are we going to ban chewing nicotine gum in the parks?"

After the La Mesa City Council on July 8 heard assistant city manager Yvonne Garrett's report recommending a ban on electronic smoking devices in locations where tobacco smoking is prohibited, vice mayor Kristine Alessio produced ...

Cowles Mountain rescue report

Twisted ankles and heart attacks

Cowles Mountain was the site of 22 rescues during 2013, San Diego Fire-Rescue battalion chief Dan Froelich said in a July 6 interview; 32 rescues were conducted in Mission Trails Regional Park last year. The ...

La Mesa council preps for November

Boardmembers haggle over and hammer out ballot issues

The La Mesa City Council voted unanimously on June 24 to let people other than councilmembers write ballot arguments for the following measures set for November: to allow medical marijuana dispensaries, to set term limits ...

Ten-story building for La Mesa?

“It's too big not to hurt an already congested area.”

The La Mesa Planning Commission on June 18 tabled a decision on the Park Station specific plan after a co-applicant spoke against the mixed-use proposal. The proposal includes raising the height limit to 110 feet ...

Seems everyone’s going green in Grantville

"The size of one is 7071 square feet. That's like a Walmart."

After Navajo Community Planners, Inc., heard a presentation on June 16 about progress on the Grantville-focused community-plan amendment, the planning group received an update from two men who applied for a conditional-use permit to operate ...

Another wild night at the dead end

"I don't understand this disaster tourism."

The June 10 rescue of a woman driver who drove through a metal guardrail at the end of Cowles Mountain Boulevard and landed in a ravine happened three weeks after Navajo Community Planners’ May 19 ...

An eye on teens, and no pythons allowed

La Mesa nails down plans for Oktoberfest

The La Mesa City Council on June 10 unanimously approved a special-event permit that allows the La Mesa Village Merchants Association to stage a modified version of the annual Oktoberfest. Changes to the event (scheduled ...

An end to the Dead End party in San Carlos

She saw "two vehicles with four individuals vomiting out of each one.”

Navajo Community Planners, Inc., on May 19 voted unanimously to support the installation of a barrier north of the intersection of Cowles Mountain Boulevard and Rainswept Way. The Cottages condominium complex is accessed from Rainswept, ...

La Mesans to lose right to vote?

Appointment of city clerk discussed at meeting

The La Mesa City Council on May 13 voted 4-1 to place a measure on the November 4 ballot that asks voters to change the city clerk from an elected position to an appointed one. ...

Chief Zimmerman talks pot

“That's what [Prop 215] was for. Growing a few plants, getting relief."

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman answered residents' questions about the medical marijuana law and the homeless, among other topics, at the May 7 San Carlos Area Council meeting. John Pilch, council vice president, said ...

District attorney candidates face off

Del Cerro hosts debate between Brewer, Dumanis, Wyatt

The three district-attorney candidates at the April 24 debate sponsored by the Del Cerro Action Council and San Carlos Area Council answered questions about medical marijuana, whether the DA's office is politicized, and the "peace ...

Friendly with weed, indeed

Grantville pot-dispensary applicant aims to do good works

Two men who want to open a nonprofit medical-marijuana dispensary gave a presentation about their proposed business, Grantville Greens, at the April 21 Navajo Community Planners, Inc., (NCPI) meeting. Nick Hosig and Ron Miller were ...

Bikers’ and climbers’ stake in Mission Trails park

Master plan meeting touches on the Boulders, adding acreage

At the April 17 meeting on the Mission Trails Regional Park master plan update, speakers included rock climbers, mountain bikers, and property owners. Topics for the first two groups included access and the Quail Brush ...

La Mesa council rejects cell-phone ban

"Mini computer" use to continue while members sit on dais

La Mesa mayor Art Madrid's city-council colleagues rejected his April 8 request to prohibit cell-phone use by councilmembers during forums, including meetings, town halls, and closed sessions. Madrid's proposal for city attorney Glenn Sabine to ...

La Mesa resident exposed to e-cigarette smoke at restaurant

Madrid retreats from total ban but still loses,

The La Mesa City Council on March 25 rejected Mayor Art Madrid's request to modify the city's smoking ordinance to ban electronic cigarettes in parks and other locations where smoking is prohibited. Madrid joined in ...

One chicken per 1000 square feet okayed in La Mesa

Art Madrid and the rooster on Maryland Avenue notwithstanding

The La Mesa City Council voted 4-1 on March 25 to amend the municipal code and allow people to keep domestic fowl such as chickens in single-family residential zones. Roosters are prohibited, and councilmembers called ...

Pipe project to prevent sinkholes in Allied Gardens

Replacement of steel-lined storm drains to last 11 months

The City of San Diego started work February 19 on a $1.9 million project to remove deteriorated corrugated metal storm-drain pipes and replace them with reinforced concrete pipes. In a February 27 interview, public works ...

Allied Gardens residents address parking problem

"A new one is people dressing in the street."

People who park on streets near Kaiser Hospital/Medical Center on Zion Avenue may find "a friendly reminder" from District 7 city councilman Scott Sherman on their vehicles. A packet containing the reminder (printed on yellow ...

Navajo planners consider pot shops in District 7

No recommendations preceding council approval of new ordinance

Navajo Community Planners, Inc., listened for about an hour February 24 to discussion of the proposed medical-marijuana dispensary ordinance, but the board made no recommendation about the regulation on the San Diego City Council' s ...

Druggie problem at La Mesa’s Northmont Park?

"Let the grass die. We need more police."

Citizens at the February 18 La Mesa Town Hall meeting at Northmont Elementary School told the city council that they were concerned about crime, particularly drug use, at nearby Northmont Park. The meeting, held in ...

Chickens may come to roost in La Mesa

Planning commission votes to recommend allowance of fowl

The topic of chickens and eggs came up before the February 19 La Mesa Planning Commission hearing on a zoning amendment to allow residents in single-family homes to keep poultry — excluding roosters. The meeting ...

Shadow-walk with Mission Trails photographer

Former bureaucrat David Cooksy gets outside, stays there

Birds in Mission Trails Regional Park displayed varied reactions when David Cooksy's camera made a beeping sound while focusing. Egrets became "panicky. They looked around; they thought it was a bird," Cooksy said during a ...

School traffic addressed at La Mesa meeting

“There are 40 moms [each driving] with one kid."

Three of the ten speakers at the City of La Mesa's Town Hall meeting on February 6 talked about the effect of school traffic in their neighborhoods. Two residents spoke about traffic around Rolando Elementary ...

Senior citizens considered by East County planners

Mobile-home residents likely to use ball field in emergency

Allied Gardens Navajo Community Planners, Inc., on January 27 voted unanimously to "support the idea in concept" of the Cliffs mobile home park's proposal for an emergency evacuation easement on land owned by the Allied ...

Pickleball vs. tennis in La Mesa

Players raise issues of court use and conversions

The La Mesa Community Services Commission on January 29 denied the USA Pickleball Association's request to remove the tennis court at Collier Park and replace it with four pickleball courts. Pickleball was created in Washington ...

Madrid out, Alessio in on SANDAG board

Other appointments made at La Mesa council meeting

The La Mesa City Council on January 14 removed mayor Art Madrid from the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) board in a 3-2 vote that designated vice mayor Kristine Alessio as La Mesa's primary ...

Suspected arson fire in La Mesa

Scorches porta potty at Sunshine Park

A fire reported at 5:41 a.m. on January 4 destroyed two portable toilets and the wood-shake roof of nearby restrooms at Sunshine Park, according to La Mesa Police Department lieutenant Ray Sweeney. Restrooms at the ...

Christmas praise for Del Cerro's Madra Dog

Statue owner sparks tree-and-gift drive for less fortunate

Janet Mika placed a Christmas tree near Madra Dog, the 30-inch tall rottweiler statue at the end of her Madra Avenue driveway, and posted a December 8 invitation on the dog's Facebook page. She invited ...

La Mesa considers ban on panhandling

Removed and rock-embedded medians don’t thwart practice

The City of La Mesa may ask Democratic assemblywoman Shirley Weber for help with a bill to ban panhandling on medians because Senate Bill 604 (a median-panhandling ban introduced by Republican state senator Joel Anderson) ...

Parking solutions for Kaiser hospital in Allied Gardens

Residents ponder creation of permit district

The prospect of a residential permit-parking district on streets near Kaiser Hospital/Medical Center drew some 200 people to the November 26 Allied Gardens Community Council town hall at Ascension Lutheran Church. As City of San ...

Youth problems at La Mesa Oktoberfest recounted

More oompah bands suggested to deter juvenile attendance

At the November 12 La Mesa City Council meeting, police chief Ed Aceves spoke about the Anti-Defamation League counter-terrorism seminar that he attended in Israel last month. One councilmember referred to the seminar during the ...

La Mesa council term-limit proposal inches forward

Vice Mayor Alessio files petition papers; Mayor Madrid not pleased

A committee that includes La Mesa vice mayor Kristine Alessio filed paperwork at city hall on November 5 to launch a petition drive to place a term-limit measure on the November 2014 ballot. The committee's ...

Rodent patrol officer lives at Mission Trails’ park center

Six-toed cat has been on the job since July

The sun, in the form of Enyaa the six-toed cat, comes out at night at Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center. Enyaa ("en" as in "hen;" "yaa" rhymes with "caw") is the Kumeyaay word for ...

Chaldean businessman considers El Cajon mayorship

Ben Kalasho sought office before Mark Lewis resigned

Shortly after the October 17 East County Democratic Club meeting started, president Frank Tsimboukakis asked the El Cajon mayoral candidate to speak. "Not yet," replied 30-year-old Ben Kalasho, a 2012 El Cajon City Council candidate ...

La Mesa City Council postpones term-limit decision

Cost of placing measure on the ballot could cost over $15,000

The La Mesa City Council on October 22 voted 3-2 to postpone for 60 days a decision about whether to place vice mayor Kristine Alessio's term-limit measure on the November 2014 ballot. The delay allowed ...

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