Bill Baber

EDITORIAL: STOP THE SANDAG POWER GRAB! EAST COUNTY LEADERS URGE OPPOSITION TO AB 805

 

 

 

By Jerry Jones, Council Member, Lemon Grove; Jennifer Mendoza, Council Member, Lemon Grove; Bill Baber, Council Member,  La Mesa; Kristine Alessio, Council Member,  La Mesa;  Bill Wells, Mayor , El Cajon, and Ben Kalasho, El Cajon Council Member

May 2, 2017 (San Diego’s East County)--Assembly Bill AB 805 is moving through the legislature and threatens our quality of life, self-determination and identity in East County.  Among other things this bill would restructure the voting system at SANDAG and give a weighted super majority veto, as well as the Chair, to the cities of San Diego and Chula Vista.

“So what does that mean to me,” you say?

AB 805 ADVANCES IN LEGISLATURE AS EAST COUNTY CITIES FIGHT BACK AGAINST SANDAG POWER GRAB

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

“I will argue that my minority and low income citizens have just as much right to be fairly represented as San Diego and Chula Vista.”—Lemon Grove Councilman Jerry Jones

April 23, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Assembly Bill 805  passed the Assembly Local Government Committee on Wednesday by a 5-4 vote.  The measure claims to  reform SANDAG,  but in fact gives virtually all power to the cities of San Diego and Chula Vista, leaving East County cities and other communities in our county powerless to add agenda items to benefit other cities or block objectionable measures at SANDAG, the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and North County Transit District.

Now East County cities are fighting back.   On Tuesday, La Mesa’s City Council will consider a proposal from Council members Bill Baber and Kristine Alessio to hire a legislative lobbyist to advocate on La Mesa’s behalf against AB 805, which was authored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), according to the agenda.

El Cajon’s City Council has voted to oppose AB 805, as did Lemon Grove and La Mesa.  East County Assemblyman Randy Voepel, former Mayor of Santee, voted against the measure in committee.

LA MESA COUNCIL VOTES 3-1 TO MAKE IT HARDER TO GET ITEMS ON AGENDA: COUNCILWOMAN STERLING BLASTS DECISION

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 13, 2016 (La Mesa) – By a 3-1 vote, with Councilwoman Ruth Sterling opposed and Councilman Guy McWhirter absent, La Mesa’s City Council on Tuesday voted to approve a measure that requires signatures of two council members to place any measure on the ballot. 

Councilmember Ruth Sterling blasted the action in an e-mail to ECM. “They diminished the people’s right to know, the government’s transparency, “ she said of the Council majority.”This is the people’s government. That fact was ignored.”

Sterling said City Attorney Glenn Sabine  indicated there are conflicting writings on whether such action might violate the Brown Act,  making it a “gray area.”

LA MESA COUNCIL TO VOTE ON PROPOSAL REQUIRING TWO COUNCIL MEMBERS TO PUT AN ITEM ON THE AGENDA

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 11, 2016 (La Mesa) –  At today’s 4 p.m. meeting, La Mesa City Council will consider a proposal introduced by Council members Bill Baber and Kristine Alessio that would require signatures  of two  Council members to place any item on the agenda.  Under the proposal (item 10 on the agenda), all requests must also be made in writing, be relevant to the official business of the City, and submitted with any pertinent materials by the Wednesday prior to a Tuesday Council hearing.

Until now, any member could ask to add an item to the agenda and seek full discussion, sometimes at the request of a concerned citizen. 

CONDITIONS MUST BE MET BEFORE LA MESA OKTOBERFEST PERMIT WILL BE ISSUED

Concerns raised over merchants group's solvency and credibility during heated hearing

By Kristin Kjaero

August 3, 2015 (La Mesa) – Whether or not there will be an Oktoberfest 2015 is in the hands of the La Mesa Village Merchants Association (LMVMA).

On Tuesday, the Council voted 4-1 to grant conditional approval for this year’s Oktoberfest, with Council member Ruth Sterling voting against. The deal requires the LMVMA to pay all outstanding debt plus a 25% security deposit and meet a scheduled list of new requirements giving the City oversight of LMVMA’s outside contracts for the event, before an Oktoberfest permit will be issued.

If all deadlines are met, Oktoberfest 2015 will be smaller and shorter: two days instead of three, closing an hour earlier, and held only in the downtown area east side of Spring Street. However, if any deadline is not met, Oktoberfest will be automatically cancelled with no further Council action required--and no refunds.

BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD FOR LA MESA OKTOBERFEST 2015

Debt from 2014 leaves future wide open

 

Photo: Councilmember Ruth Sterling states, "I feel for the Merchants, I feel for the situation, believe me I do, but when you have the money and you know you owe the money, you’ve got to get your priorities straight. I would say the same thing to my children, if they got the rent to pay and they’ve got other things to pay. You get your priorities straight and pay the rent, or you’re going to be out on the street."

 

By Kristin Kjaero

May 30, 2015 (La Mesa) – The operation of this year’s Oktoberfest is up in the air, with the door open for a new organizer to potentially take over. Last week, the city of La Mesa received an application from the La Mesa Village Merchants Association for the 2015 Oktoberfest, but the Merchants’ group still owes the city $37,229 for past events including last year’s Oktoberfest.  Without ruling on the application directly, the city added a phrase to its special event application policy that empowers the City Manager with discretion to pre-qualify and negotiate with applicants.

 The Merchants Association proposed to pay both its past debts and future costs by taking over the entire event without the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce’s participation, combined with a request asking the Council  to roll back cost recovery to 50%. The Merchants group also promised to place future proceeds from 2015 into an escrow account so the City would be the first paid from future event revenues. 2015 Car Show series, funded annually by Oktoberfest profits, was also cancelled last week by the Merchants.

This isn’t the first time that the Merchants Association’s finances have led to a change in the way the City processes applications for special events.

ARAPOSTATHIS DEFEATS LA MESA MAYOR ART MADRID, BABER & MCWHIRTER WIN COUNCIL RACES

 

Photo, left: Baber and McWhirter's victory party at Tiramisu Trattoria in La Mesa

 

Republicans, developer-backed candidates in Council race

Updated November 5, 2014 (La Mesa) - Mayor Art Madrid, who has led La Mesa for the past 24 years, has been unseated by Councilman and teacher Mark Arapostathis.  With 100% of precincts counted, Arapostathis has received 58.8% of the vote to Madrid's 41.11%.

LA MESA CANDIDATES AIR IN-DEPTH VIEWS IN INTERVIEWS WITH EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE

 

 

Four of the five candidates sat down for in-depth radio interviews with East County Magazine. 

Hear their full interviews here (listed in the order they aired on KNSJ); or to read highlights click "read more" and scroll down:

Patrick Dean: http://kiwi6.com/file/bchwu7qbqx 

Pete Gregorovic: http://kiwi6.com/file/78puh4vuq3

Bill Baber:  http://kiwi6.com/file/t8a9fxd7io

Mary England: http://kiwi6.com/file/qn2jcyft15

Updated 11/1/14: Bill Baber has clarified his position on recusals and raised questions over possible conflicts of interests by Mary England.  See his remarks in the text below.

Update October 31, 2014: Guy McWhirter, who was not available for a radio interview, provided written responses to our candidate questions today, after the story below was published. Read his responses here.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: L. to R.: Bill Baber, Patrick Dean, Mary England, Pete Gregorovic, Guy McWhirter

October 30, 2014 (La Mesa) –La Mesa has two open seats on its City Council, since long-time Councliman Ernie Ewin is retiring and Councliman Mark Arpostathis is running for mayor.  Five candidates are running—and the winners could swing the Council in new directions for the future.   Overall, this year's pack of candidates brings extensive experience and enthusiasm to the contest to represent the citizens of La Mesa.

LA MESANS MEET CANDIDATES AT CHAMBER DEBATE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Mayoral candidate Mark Arapostathis and Mayor Art Madrid (top); City Council candidates (left to right) Bill Baber, Patrick Dean, Mary England, Pete Gregorovic, Guy McWhirter

September 25, 2014 (La Mesa)—Candidates  for La Mesa’s mayoral and city council races made their cases to voters at a forum held by the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce last week, tackling issues ranging from future development to public safety, pensions, and homelessness. 

Art Madrid, who has served as La Mesa’s Mayor for over 24 years, faces a challenge from Councilmember/teacher Mark Arapostathis.  Five candidates are vying for two open seats on the La Mesa Council. They are Bill Baber, an attorney and La Mesa-Spring Valley school board member; Patrick Dean, a chef and member of  La Mesa’s Community Services Commission; Mary England, president of La Mesa Chamber of Commerce;  Pete Gregorovic, a business attorney and youth sports leader; and Guy McWhirter, an insurance agent.

For key points made by each candidate, as well as links to video opening statements and raw audio of the debate, click "read more" and scroll down.

LA MESA RACES HEAT UP : ARAPOSTATHIS TO CHALLENGE MADRID FOR MAYOR

 

Ewin to step down, leaving two vacancies to fill on Council

By Miriam Raftery

April 6, 2014 (La Mesa) – The filing deadline isn’t until  August for La Mesa’s city council and mayoral races.  But at least two candidates have already declared their intention to vie for Mayor.  Art Madrid announced on East County Magazine’s radio show that he is seeking reelection. Listen to interview here.  Councilman Mark Arpostathis held a press conference to announce he plans to challenge Mayor Madrid. View video of his announcement here.

Whether Aropstathis wins or loses the mayoral challenge, it will open up his seat on the city council.  In addition, long-serving Councilman Ernie Ewin announced this week that he will not seek reelection and has further indicated he will not run for mayor, San Diego Rostra reported. That leaves two open seats on La Mesa’s  council –and a potential shift in the balance of power and priorities for La Mesa.

LA MESA=SPRING VALLEY DISTRICT SAVES PROPERTY OWNERS $650,000

 

Proposition M Bond Refinance a huge success

March 27, 2014 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa-Spring Valley School District was able to refinance a portion of the Proposition M General Obligation Bonds saving $650,000.  Much like a homeowner can refinance a home loan to obtain a better interest rate and lower their monthly mortgage payment a school district can refinance its bonds for a better rate and lower the bond cost to all property tax payers.

INCUMBENTS ARE RETURNED TO LA MESA-SPRING VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD

By Bill Weaver

November 7, 2012 (La Mesa) — Incumbents Emma Turner, Psy.D. was re-elected, as was William "Bill" Baber, a local attorney, to the La Mesa-Spring Valley School Board. Both are Republicans and both have shown support for public education in their district.

BILL BABER SHARES HIS VALUES FOR THE LA MESA-SPRING VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT BOARD

“I don’t think we have a taxing problem; I think we have a spending problem.”—Bill Baber

By Janis Mork

Incumbent La Mesa-Spring Valley School Board President William ‘Bill’ Baber is up for re-election this November, running against Emma Turner and Jay Steiger for two spots on the school board. The LMSV district includes El Cajon, Spring Valley, and La Mesa. View a map of the district.

September 5, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)-Since being in office since 2004 as president of the board, William Baber believes major achievement has been “the fiscal stability of the district with very prudent financial management.” 

SCHOOL BOARD LEARNS A LESSON, FACES WRATH OF PUBLIC: HUNDREDS CONFRONT LMSV BOARD OVER CENSORSHIP OF LIVE OBAMA SPEECH

 

3 BOARD MEMBERS APOLOGIZE, BUT TAPED SPEECH STILL NOT SHOWN TO MANY STUDENTS

 

“If you were students in my class, you would not pass.”—Maureen Paolini, teacher and graduate of the LMSV district