Laura Lothian for La Mesa City Council

Laura Lothian

Realtor Laura Lothian, who won a special election in La Mesa in 2021 for the city council seat vacated early by Akilah Weber, is running for re-election to keep her dais seat. Consistently, she maintains that elected officials should focus on the needs of the city rather than state and federal issues.

“Due to bad government policies, every city faces homelessness. It’s everywhere. We have an unhealthy society and it goes back to NAFTA,” Lothian said, referring to the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement which saw some manufacturing jobs move to neighboring countries.

Homelessness flourished, Lothian said when the potential for entry-level jobs dwindled.

“Generations ago, you went to school, graduated, got a job, got married, we wiped out all manufacturing and factories with millions of people floundering. If you have a homeless addicted to drugs or alcohol, he’s just going to end up on the streets. Our society needs 180 change. The secret, to me, is not more government programs, but more private investment for a thriving economy,” Lothian said.

In a one-time endorsement, the real estate agent said he supports the non-profit organization HomeStart which seeks to match homeless people with available housing located in local municipalities in participating cities rather than building a shelter or concentrated housing.

“Personally, I’m not a fan of the many homeless programs, I offer them hotels, it doesn’t get better. However, La Mesa really only has about 50 homeless people and with this approach HomeStart can find someone on Lemon Avenue, one on Garfield, one on college – the placement is scattered and that gets people out off the street,” Lothian said, an approach. she supports because homeless people blend into established neighborhoods.

She has mixed feelings about the La Mesa Homeless Outreach Mobile Engagement Team, which ventures on calls for service rather than dispatching law enforcement officers.

“What I like is that it reduces the need for police presence and allows law enforcement to focus on public safety. What I don’t like is the concierge approach with terms like ‘customers’ and ‘customer services’ with food and clothing, rides to pick up apartments,” said Lothian.

She worries that La Mesa is unwittingly attracting homeless people from other parts of the county by adopting a customer service approach and inadvertently ending up with more homeless residents. She also wonders if Metropolitan Transit Systems could change the number of homeless people who travel to town by streetcar by imposing fares.

“I’ve heard so many people say the trolley is a problem and everyone says the same thing: the trolley doors open, there are no ticket takers, you get on and off, so I “I started thinking about it. I live in La Mesa, frequently take the trolley downtown to a nice restaurant, then Uber and no one ever checked my ticket,” Lothian said.

She has since suggested to City Council Member and MTS Board Member Jack Shu that “MTS needs to enforce the tariffs and announce that they are enforcing it” in an effort to “stop free express for the homeless”, so if people can’t pay, they can’t ride, which she says would benefit taxpayers and tourism.

“I’m also finding out details about where we need to allow homeless people to congregate. So ok we are required to allow homeless since we have no shelter but are we required to allow tents to pop up? Also, do we need to allow clusters? One homeless person in each of 20 parks is better than 20 in one park,” Lothian said, although she did not say how diluting the visible presence of homeless people would reduce homelessness itself. same.

A self-proclaimed ‘limited government person’, Lothian’s voice rose as she questioned the logic of building a five-story apartment building where the historic Randall Lamb building was located before it was destroyed by arson in May 2020.

“The City of La Mesa has a website that currently has an ad about Collier Park, but nothing about this five-story building in the heart of our 120-year-old village. There were no signs on the lot, no information, no announcements – everyone was caught off guard because Sacramento was desperate for housing near streetcar lines. It will absolutely detract from the charm of the village,” Lothian said.

Meanwhile, ordinary residents wait years for approval of the Accessory Dwelling Unit Permit, a requirement for building single units that would bring their owners extra income and provide an affordable small home for one person. needing a rental, she said.

“I hate to hear my colleagues say we can’t do anything about Sacramento. If we can’t do anything, if we have no decision-making power, why are we elected? Why not be administrators? We have people who can’t get a project built because of inefficient permits from our city. So no, I don’t believe in affordable housing, I believe in less government,” Lothian said.

She also “vehemently” opposes the Climate Action Plan, denouncing it as “the government finding an existential problem so it can now tell you where to live, what to drive, what to cook and what to eat” as the gas is gradually removed. in favor of electricity.

“Our climate is changing. We have always had droughts and tornadoes; we once had dinosaurs and an ice age. I don’t think our governor should say we can’t have cars in 2035 – who made him king? It’s ridiculous that Californians have to drive a Prius while India is spending billions in air pollution costs,” Lothian said.

San Diego, Lothian said, lacks the public transit infrastructure that older cities like his former hometown, Boston, built over many years of development.

“This movement to get people out of the car: we are not made for that here. In Boston? Of course, it’s all on the ‘T,'” Lothian said, referring to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s subway system which was built in 1897 and has 149 stops compared to the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s 63 stops in San Francisco. Diego in the tram system.

She would prefer elected officials to use technology to improve the efficiency of vehicles and systems, such as developing a staggered workday, optimizing stop lights for smoother traffic, and implementing small changes to the personal level.

Lothian, who drives frequently for work and often commutes east and west during peak hours of I-8 traffic, said she “would never want warrants or our government dictating hours of operation. “, but think business owners could take it upon themselves to stagger their working hours so commute times are varied and there are fewer cars idling in traffic.

“I want to be clear about my love for the environment – I love science and zero waste. I went to EDCO and saw with my own eyes how they turn food waste into fuel for trucks. So , every Thursday, all my food scraps go into my green bin. I’m just not in the money orders,” Lothian said.

At a recent Climate Action Plan meeting, she noticed that everyone was drinking from a disposable water bottle when they had a refillable bottle.

“It takes oil to make and ship these bottles and everyone got permanent water bottles, just go fill up your water bottle. I wrote a letter to the city council and management and overnight they stopped with the plastic bottles,” Lothian said, a practice she would like to see instituted at the state level.

“If you’re Gavin Newsom talking about the climate, man, set an example for our whole state. Get a water bottle with a California bear on it, use some of that ARPA funding to install water stations in government buildings, and require employees to use refillable bottles. You’re helping the ocean, keeping things out of landfills, reducing oil consumption, and reducing shipping needs. How difficult,” Lothian asked.

The incumbent said she didn’t run for city council in the special election to land on “a platform to espouse global talking points”, but as a local resident who wants to represent the city .

“I’m not racing for anything global, I’m racing for the benefit of La Mesa.”

Laura Lothian for La Mesa City Council

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