La Mesa Stories

Little Flower's nuns stymied by La Mesa city council

"I've never seen such a rude group of people"

A La Mesa City Council 2-2 vote on August 8 stalled Silvergate Development’s plan to convert the now-closed Little Flower Haven Catholic retirement home at 8585 La Mesa Boulevard into the 130-unit Little Flower apartment ...

Mideast woman and child get baby back ribs and ribeye steaks at Walmart

Immigrant exploitation

Walmart Neighborhood Market carries El Jimador reposado tequila for $15.97 a bottle, which is $4 cheaper than my local liquor store, which is why I went there on the night of July 7th. As I ...

Music Trader veteran opens La Mesa record shop

"I know what kind of product just walks through the door and falls in your lap."

When you think of genius business moves in 2017, opening a used-record shop doesn’t immediately spring to mind. Since the advent of Napster in 1999, the general trend for record stores has been death as ...

BLVD's small plates and the blues

Sunday night surprise in La Mesa

La Mesa on a Sunday night? Looks deader than a dodo on downers. Okay, a couple of bars send out lights like lonely lighthouses. Chances for eats? Ha! But then, someone’s just put this sandwich ...

I’m going to have to shoot you

La Mesa police Firearms Training Simulator

The La Mesa Police Department’s Citizens Academy is, in the words of training sergeant Kate Lynch, “a great way to share the unfortunate realities of the job without putting citizens in harm’s way. It helps ...

Music publishers' police on duty

ASCAP, BMI, and, "like, four of five of these scum suckers out there."

Called scum suckers and worse. In January it was announced that ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) had sued Jolt’n Joes in La Mesa and the Ramona Mainstage because they hosted musicians without ...

All about those buns

La Mesa's first ramen house still in its infancy

La Mesa’s downtown strip has been raising eyebrows as an aspiring food and drink district lately. The fast-casual BLVD Noodles is among the more recent arrivals, touting a menu of pan-Asian appetizers, ramen (the first ...

Developers of Little Flower apartments tussle with La Mesa neighbors

Parking is the sticking point

The La Mesa Planning Commission on June 7 was scheduled to consider approving a special permit for Silvergate Development’s conversion of Little Flower Haven, a Catholic retirement home that closed in 2015, into a 130-unit ...

The lure of fresh bread in the morning

Torpedo repeat

BMH Italian wasn’t open yet, but I could smell the bread baking, so I parked it on a bench outside and waited. 10:30 a.m. may have been a little on the early side for lunch, ...

For missionaries, ministers...also candlestick makers

Pastor Brian Tallman has concerns about the ignorance among clergy

New Life Presbyterian Church of La Mesa Membership: 437 Pastor: Brian Tallman Age: 39 Born: San Diego Formation: Southern California Bible College, El Cajon; the Masters Seminary, Sun Valley; Bethel Seminary, San Diego Years Ordained: ...

Whither La Mesa's old police station, the farmers market?

City council works deal with SDG&E, water authority

The La Mesa police station at 8085 University Avenue opened in 2012, and it’s been five years since the old station located at 8181 Allison Avenue was demolished. The sight of fencing and equipment on ...

La Mesa's Green Mile

University between 70th and Baltimore

University Avenue is improving. Between 70th and Baltimore, La Mesa is “maximizing walkability and creating a unifying streetscape theme” by installing trees along the sidewalks, amending crosswalks, updating street lights, and most significantly, planting the ...

Random people with great weed

The Vault on La Mesa Blvd. — "This is my afterlife"

Jay’s daughter has osteosarcoma — “cancer of the bone. She had to have her leg amputated. It also tries to travel to your heart and lungs, and it’s ongoing. They actually prescribed cannabis for her ...

Weird crimes so far this year in La Mesa

The hatchet, the drug dealer, and two staged robberies

According to La Mesa police chief Walt Vasquez’s quarterly operations report for the first three months of 2017, the city’s one homicide was related to a 1996 incident where a man attacked his mother with ...

Move over burger place, coffee place coming in

Sixties-era Jack in the Box building not considered historical

When construction started in September 2016 in the Village Shopping Center parking lot east of the Jack in the Box, people were curious about what was coming to the center located at the northwest corner ...

The pork chop was the star

New La Mesa eatery now open

The Farmer’s Table restaurant in downtown La Mesa had only been open a week when my mother invited us to try it out with her. When we arrived, the line was out the door, and ...

Historic elderly home to become apartments

Developer to convert Little Flower Haven in La Mesa

Little Flower Haven, the Catholic nonprofit home for the elderly located at 8585 La Mesa Boulevard, closed on June 30, 2015. The proposed plan for the 4.09-acre site is Little Flower Apartments, a 130-unit complex ...

Beereakfast at Craft Kitchen leaves me wanting a morning nap

A steamy, spicy mess

Hmm. Chilaquiles. Coffee. Beer. Beer. My Sunday brunch. Not just me. Guy on my right is downing a pint of “Dank & Sticky IPA,” think he says. Couple on my left is full-chomp into steaks, ...

Legitimate proof that La Mesa is hip

Blvd Noodles hits the boulevard

For some, a Starbucks is a sign that the neighborhood has arrived. For others, it’s a microbrewery. For me, it’s a noodle shop. La Mesa already has its share of sushi joints, pho spots, and ...

La Mesa opens for pot business

Shop applicants cough up the fees as illegal dispensaries close

Today (February 6), the City of La Mesa accepted applications — and a nonrefundable $1200 initial fee — from people seeking a conditional use permit to open a medical marijuana dispensary, cultivation business, or to ...

Inadvertent off-roader vanishes from crash scene

Six tow-truck operators work on vehicle stuck on side of hill

A La Mesa motorist expressed surprise on Wednesday (January 18) when he saw a burgundy-colored truck on the side of a hill on the south side of Parkway Drive. The truck had crashed through a ...

Tried taking Highway 94 east off the 125 south lately?

Caltrans won’t clean up the mess

High-priority project at the 125/94 interchange never gets done.

Beer and wine fuel La Mesa's music scene

Breweries bringing bands to East County

Depot Springs, the brewery, restaurant, live music venue being built in La Mesa, seems to be nearing the finish line. After two years of development — and delays — founder Aaron Dean anticipates the ambitious ...

Bloody good bloody mary at The Hills

La Mesa pub does brunch right

For the next five months, my kids are spending their Saturday mornings at a theater rehearsal. Date nights are difficult to do right now, but I can handle date mornings. For our taste of Saturday ...

Former gas station turned into hot La Mesa lunch spot

At your service

When La Mesa held its Oktoberfest in early October, a running topic of conversation was whether the city is the next North Park or the next Little Italy. La Mesa is a great city to ...

La Mesa council votes for...cooperation?

“We’re cutting down on transparency.”

The La Mesa City Council on October 11 voted 3-1 to rescind the 2002 policy allowing one councilmember to place an item on the agenda. Instead, the signatures of two councilmembers will be needed to ...

Grossmont Theatre to serve high-end food and drink

Sample the new fare on Friday, October 7

What better way to cloud your vision of San Diego’s two largest theatre screens than by taking advantage of Grossmont Cinema’s new stocked bar? As if movies weren’t intoxicating enough, this weekend Reading Cinemas Grossmont ...

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 ...

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