LA MESA CITIZEN OVERSIGHT GROUP

"Your local advocates promoting open, accountable, cost-effective, efficient government, and protecting citizens from unnecessary taxes, fees, regulations, and policies."

Thumbs Up/ Thumbs Down

Government officials!

When they do or say good things.   

Sometimes they do or say questionable things. 

2013

2/12/13. To the La Mesa City Council for strengthening their AB1234 expense and Travel reporting policy to include written event specific information via a  Revised La Mesa AB1234 Policy 12 Feb 2013 Form. This will better insure that each elected official has accountability in all such expenses of taxpayer monies.

2012

  12/12/12.  To the Grossmont-Cuyamaca College District for another year of clean audits.

   12/11/12 To the La Mesa City council for reaffirming in a 5-0 vote the 2009 “Germane to the operation of the city” policy for council initiated items as a way to further trim unnecessary actions and expenses not within city government basic core functions. 12/11/12 Council Agenda

  11/27/12. To the La Mesa City Council for clarifying it’s position on Fair Trade with a letter from the city attorney. Fair Trade Letter from La Mesa to FTT USA 27 November 2012

11/6/12. To Council Member Ernie Ewin and his wife, Nancy, have invited all La Mesa council candidates and local media to the table – the lunch table, that is. His one caveat: “No campaigning for an hour and a half.” “This is a way to get to know one another,” he says. In this, their fourth Election Day luncheon since 2004 (paid for by the Ewins).

 10/25/12. To Mayor Art Madrid for ignoring city council policy on not taking positions on political agendas, ignoring city council policy on having open and transparent government and ignoring the vote last year by the city council on fair trade. The Mayor wrote his own personal commendation to the La Mesa Fair Trade Committee so La Mesa could be declared a Fair Trade City by an organization sponsored by for-profit corporations. The organization will now use this designation as part of their national marketing campaign for their social justice political agenda.

La Mesa Fair Trade Letter

  9/11/12. To an elected official who did not adhere to the city policy AB1234 procedure when Mayor Madrid did not provide a report at the next public meeting following a recent convention attendance. This has been an ongoing problem of omission for elected officials over the past few years.

  7/24/12. The PBID formation committee and the Mayor, who sits on the board as the city council representative,  for refusing to share information with the rest of the elected officials in a crucial decision making process. This was in the same meeting and about an hour after the entire city council voted unanimously to continue to adhere to the full measure of California State Brown Act on open government.

  7/24/12. To the entire La Mesa City Council for voting unanimously to continue to adhere to the full measure of California State Brown Act on open government regardless of what state elected officials do to weaken its requirements

7/19/12. To the La Mesa Spring Valley school board for making the tough decision to make the necessary cuts in spending due to a declining budget.  Certainly not an enjoyable decision for anyone.

6/22/12. To the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) for being Awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its Fiscal Year 2010-11 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

6/19/12. To La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid for committing the City of La Mesa to support the EPA MACT Rule without discussion and approval by the city council. While any elected official may support anything of their own choosing, the taxpayers funded the trip on which this was done. We believe this makes the trip for city business and the attendee a representative of the City.

6/12/12. To City Council member Dave Allan for requesting the city pay $5,000 to fund a trip to Boston for members of the Youth Advisory Commission.  Simply a waste of taxpayer money.  5000requestforyouthtravel

5/29/12 to the GUHSD for Saving  Taxpayers $4.9 Million by Refinancing School Upgrade Bonds. District is saving money on Prop H, which funds repairs of aging schools in the district, modernization and other projects.

4/24/12. To City Council member Dave Allan for leading the effort to put a time limit on the La Mesa PBID decision and finalize things by July 2012. The PBID proponents should collect the needed private property owner votes and not rely on the weight of the City to ram this measure through.

2/11/12. To the community members and officials that put politics aside for a day of clean-up in the La Mesa Village.

1/24/12. To Mayor Madrid and the City Council for acknowledging commission groups for service to the community. “The characteristics of earlier pioneers are still ingrained in La Mesa’s culture,” Madrid said.


2011

11/18/11. Mayor Madrid co-signed a letter, suggesting support by the City, with 102 other Mayors across the US in opposition to the Keystone pipeline without consulting other council members in a public council meeting.

  10/26/11. To the City Council to save almost $100,000 a year and hours of staff time, the city of La Mesa will send out its sewer bills with San Diego County property tax bills starting in 2012.

10/11/11. To Council members Arapostathis, Ewin and Sterling for voting to not approve the political social justice agenda Fair Trade Resolution and reinforcing a long standing policy for the City Council of taking no action on issues that don’t directly impact the operation of the City of La Mesa.

7/21/11. To Mayor Art Madrid for pushing for overall pay and benefits package information prior to approving a $10K pay raise for the SANDAG director. “If we don’t learn from examples like (the public pay scandal in the Los Angeles-area city of) Bell about being super-transparent, then we’re our own worst enemies and we deserve every criticism,” Madrid said.

6/2/11. La Mesa earned 8 awards fro various capital improvement projects. “The acknowledgement by respected organizations is rewarding and deeply appreciated,” said Mayor Madrid.

5/24/11. To Mayor Madrid for petulantly complaining and demanding an apology of Lemon Grove officials “who purposely misrepresent the facts for their own benefit”  regarding a sewer rate report. Lemon Grove Mayor Mary Sessom said she passed along Madrid’s letter to the council members and noted “we are sorry for the innocent mistake that came out of the volumes of very technical material prepared by our consultant.”

4/8/11.  To City Councilman Dave Allan, Community Development Director Bill Chopyk, Police Capt. Ed Aceves, Finance Director Sarah Waller-Bullock and Rod Hamilton of the Public Works Department for meeting with high school students to provide insight on what it takes to keep the city of 58,000 running.

2010

5/20/10. To La Mesa City council member Dave Allan for helping spearhead efforts to consolidate fire management services in 3 cities, including La Mesa, creating additional staffing capacity and containing costs while maintaining a high level of fire and emergency medical services. The expected savings is $560,000 among the three cities without a loss of service to the public. A note of caution: eventually the three cities will consolidate their benefit plans. If these benefits are ratcheted up to the highest benefit plan, costs will increase, net savings will be lost.

2009

5/14/09. To the La Mesa City Council for voting unanimously to not approve a proposed hate speech policy. Each Council member spoke out, and while all denounced hate crimes, Council members unanimously expressed the view that the measure was not needed. Councilman Ernest Ewin said the issues raised by the resolution are “already covered by existing laws.” Mayor Madrid concluded, “…that you cannot legislate common sense or morality.”

4/1/09. To the La Mesa Spring Valley School District superintendent Brian Marshall for taking a voluntary 10% pay reduction in the face of serious budget shortfalls. The furlough/salary reduction for Mr. Marshall and other management and staff will continue until finances improve.

1/12/09 To Mayor Madrid for committing to convert La Mesa city paid government employee pensions to a defined contribution system rather than continue with budget busting defined benefit coverage.2008 USCM Save for Retirement Initiative Pledge

2008

10/21/08. To the La Mesa City Council for declining to take a position on California Prop 8. Mayor Art Madrid said he thought it was inappropriate to address the issue at a council meeting.  Council member Dave Allan wanted to let the voters decide the issue for themselves.

2/27/08. To La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid for being found drunk on curb, city employee Trisha Turner for being found passed out in the drivers seat of a running vehicle and to the La Mesa Police for simply driving them home with no investigation. Shame on all of them for this appalling trip home.

2007

  2/20/07. Mayor Art Madrid is challenging his fellow politicians to lose the extra flab in what he calls an East County version of the popular reality TV show, “The Biggest Loser.”Good luck to all!

2006

2/18/06. To Mayor Madrid and the City Council for sending a letter to a resident demanding a retraction because the resident answered questions from council members honestly. The City Council should apologize to Tanner for “wasting his time and attempting to intimidate him,” said Terry Francke, general counsel for Californians Aware, which advocates open government. Everyone but the Mayor later appologized.

2005

2/5/05 . To Mayor Madrid for working with the police chief, the city council and other agencies in taking a firm stance on violence committed in La Mesa by gangs.

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