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Vice Mayor Kristine Alessio compares a traditional cigarette to an e-cig at a recent city council meeting. Alessio opposes a proposed ban on smoking e-cigarettes in public.

City moves to restrict e-cigs in parks, restaurants

Foster kids need advocates in La Mesa By Jeremy Ogul With more than 5,000 foster children in San Diego County’s juvenile court system at any given time, most people agree that the system is overburdened. Attorneys and social workers juggle dozens of cases at a time. Children who have already suffered some form of abuse or neglect are shuffled from attorney to social worker to therapist to temporary foster parent.

By Jeremy Ogul

Sitting at the dais at a recent City Council meeting, Councilmember Kristine Alessio lit up a cigarette and blew the smoke across the room. She then did the same with an electronic cigarette. Alessio quit smoking years ago, but she did this to prove a point. “There’s a huge difference,” she said. “Cigarette smoke is far different than e-cigarette smoke.” Indeed, the odorless vapor from the e-cigarette had long since disappeared by the time the filthy smell of the tobacco cigarette smoke began to envelope the audience in the room.

Councilmember Ernie Ewin got up, opened a side door and stood outside for several minutes until the air finally cleared. That was July 8, when the council voted to direct city staff to return with an ordinance that would regulate e-cigarettes like regular tobacco cigarettes, banning them from city parks, playgrounds and inside buildings. Violators would be subject to an infraction fine between $10 and $100. On July 22, a majority of the council voted to go forward in adopting the ordinance.

Alessio has been the most resolute opponent. “I think it’s government overreach,” she said. “I have an extreme sensitivity to perfume. Should we regulate perfume in the parks?” Though he voted in favor of the restrictions, Councilmember Ernie Ewin has also expressed doubts. “How are you going to enforce it?” he said. “There’s going to have to be a lot of public relations support in order to get the word out and make sure that this is being accepted as a posiSee E-Cigs, Page 4

Goodwill opens new Lake Murray store and donation center By McKenna Aiello

The non-profit Goodwill Industries of San Diego County opened their 28th retail thrift store and donation center on Thursday, July 9, in the Lake Murray area at 6127 Lake Murray Blvd. The second-hand superstore is not La Mesa’s first location, but it is now the largest. Scaling in at 3,365 square feet, the Lake Murray location rivals the La Mesa Village location by more than 1,000 square feet. Shoppers have taken advantage of this size increase since the store opened, stacking carts full of discount clothes and household items. A recent visit to the thrift lovers’ paradise showed employees have been busy keeping up with costumers and restocking shelves. “We love this community, and when this space became available we jumped on it,”

said Beth Forsberg, vice president of operations for Goodwill Industries of San Diego. Like most Goodwill stores, the Lake Murray location offers its signature book collection, extensive amounts of clothing and shoes for the whole family,

numerous small appliances and gently-used linens. Higher-end enthusiasts will also be happy to peruse the boutique section, where a glass case holds the store’s most valuable items like fine china and jewelry. Those wanting to shed See Goodwill, Page 13

Shoppers browse for bargains at new Goodwill store.

CASA volunteer and La Mesa resident Lisa Warren, left, and Voices for Children advocacy supervisor Kim Mettler. The ultimate goal is to either reunify the family or place the child with a permanent adoptive family, but that process typically takes 18 months to complete. That’s where the Court Appointed Special Advocates step in. Also known as CASAs, these volunteers commit to serve as the court’s eyes and ears as a consistent and stable adult presence in the life of a foster child as they make their way through the juvenile court system. La Mesa resident Lisa Warren has spent the last year volunteering as a CASA for a 6 year-old foster child. Warren spends a little bit of time with her CASA kid every week, taking her out for dinner, on hikes or to the pet store to look at the animals. “She is this super bright, gregarious, wickedly funny little girl,” Warren said. “What’s been important to me is to make a connection with her that isn’t prodding or probing her for information but really just letting her be a kid.” Warren, who was briefly a foster child herself before See CASA, Page 9

La Mesa Courier August 2014 NEWS

Local designer sews costumes large and small By Lorena Ruggero From theater costumes to figurine outfits, costume designer Esther Skandunas loves to sew. For that, she thanks her mother, who started teaching her when she was 5 years old. “She made most of my clothes when I was little, and I loved to watch her take a piece of fabric and turn it into something I could wear,” Skandunas said. “As I grew, that interest stayed with me.” Now, the La Mesa resident designs costumes for Grossmont College theatrical productions in addition to her work as a freelance costume fabricator and professional tailor. At the college, Skandunas teaches students to sew and works as the in-house costume designer for theatrical productions.

This summer, the department hosts its first-ever conservatory, featuring local high school and college students in acting and technical roles in “The Three Musketeers,” as directed by La Mesa resident and Grossmont College instructor Beth Duggan. When it comes to costume design, Skandunas collaborates with the play’s director and the technical crew. Once a play has been selected and designed, Skandunas and her students examine existing costumes to see what can be transformed, and create new costumes as needed. “I teach the students how to sew the item together step by step,” she said. “Many of our students, when they first come to the class, have never sewn before. For some, the See Musketeers, Page 14

Esther Skandunas


La Mesa Courier

August 2014


La Mesa Courier under new ownership La Mesa Courier and its sister publications — Mission Times Courier, Mission Valley News and — have joined the San Diego Community News Network (SDCNN) and its group of award-winning community newspapers, giving SDCNN the leading community news voice in the heart of San Diego. SDCNN’s purchase of the trio of newspapers from Jim Madaffer’s Mission Publishing

“San Diego Community News Network Publisher David Mannis has a long history devoted to offering topflight community news in San Diego County, and we look forward to that continuing with his acquisition of these Mission Publishing Group newspapers,” Madaffer said. Mannis has been in the publishing industry for more than 30 years. He previously published the La Jolla Village

David Mannis

Jim Madaffer

Group took effect July 1. SDCNN also publishes the San Diego Uptown News, San Diego Downtown News and Gay San Diego, which provide in-depth, hyper-local community news that has been increasingly ignored by larger media companies in the region.

News, Beach & Bay Press and The Peninsula Beacon, and just celebrated the five-year anniversary of SDCNN in June. The combined 68,000 circulation of the newly acquired newspapers will give SDCNN a total circulation

of 130,000, with a distribution that expands its current reach of Uptown and Downtown neighborhoods into those of eastern and central San Diego, including La Mesa, Mission Valley, San Carlos, Allied Gardens, Grantville, Del Cerro, the College Area and others. “Jim has done a terrific job over the last two decades and these papers have truly become staples of the neighborhoods they serve,” Mannis said. “The SDCNN team is excited to add these quality newspapers to our family of community papers and we look forward to serving the people and businesses of these vibrant areas.” Madaffer’s former wife, Sally Ortega, started Mission Times Courier in 1995, and Madaffer began publishing La Mesa Courier as a monthly newspaper in June 2011. A former San Diego City Councilmember, Madaffer is president of Madaffer Enterprises, Inc., a government affairs consulting firm based in Downtown San Diego. He serves on the board of directors of the San Diego County Water Authority and was appointed to the California Transportation Commission earlier this year by Gov. Jerry Brown.

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La Mesa Courier August 2014 NEWS

E-Cigs, from page 1 inside their businesses. Bartenders at the Chico Club say there have been occasions when patrons refused to take their e-cigarettes to the smoking patio outside. The bar’s owner, Larry Fox, said he prefers to deal with e-cigarette smokers on a case by case basis, asking them to step outside only when their smoke is bothering another patron in the bar. Fox said he will not be upset, though, if the City Council passes the ordinance. Carol Tolosko, who owns Centifonti’s Bar & Restaurant and Konichiwa Sushi

on La Mesa Boulevard, said she doesn’t need an ordinance to manage e-cigarettes in her restaurants because she already has the right to refuse service to anyone. She asks e-cigarette smokers to sit outside, which has not been a problem so far. Por Favor, a Mexican restaurant on La Mesa Boulevard, does not allow patrons to use e-cigarettes inside the restaurant, said manager Julia Burgueno. Down the street at Hoffer’s Cigar Bar, owner Phil Hoffman and friends pondered whether it was worth adopting

an ordinance. “The first startling thing is that it looks like smoking, and I think that’s what people are upset about,” Hoffman said as he puffed on a cigar on the bar’s back patio. “Sometimes it’s like heavy perfume — it’s hard to handle. But should we nanny-state legislate it?” Across the patio, Mike Lambert agreed. “It’s kind of unfair to smokers,” he said. John Iannessa said he thinks the policy on e-cigarettes should be up to the business owner, but personally he does not like the smell. “It’s like somebody just got their Easter basket full of candy,” he said with a laugh. Joe Harter, a La Mesa resident who recently started using an e-cigarette in an effort to stop smoking, said he only uses his e-cigarette in the

areas where he used to smoke tobacco cigarettes. “I think that’s just me being respectful,” Harter said. Alina Mindlin, who sells e-cigarettes at the Vape Functions store on El Cajon Boulevard, said she has no problem with the city banning e-cigs at restaurants. “We’re not here to blow a cloud in your face while you’re having a nice dinner,” Mindlin said. At the same time, however, people need to tone down the rhetoric and educate themselves on the differences between smoking cigarettes and vaping, she said. While secondhand smoke is toxic and causes cancer, secondhand e-cigarette vapor harms no one, she said. La Mesa’s ordinance, if it is ultimately adopted, would take effect later this fall.



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tive and that everybody has a vested interest in this.” Mayor Art Madrid, who has been the strongest supporter of regulating e-cigarettes, said residents have demanded the city do something about e-cigarettes. While this ordinance is obviously not a silver bullet, the council must serve the public interest, he said. Councilmember Mark Arapostathis said he supports the restrictions because restaurants and business owners have told him they need an ordinance to help enforce anti-smoking policies




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Anti-bullying act attracts accolades By Jeremy Ogul

If the prevalence of bullying among young people today is any indication, the standard anti-bullying campaigns led by adults don’t seem to be making much difference. Enter Theater of Peace. The theater group led by Mount Helix resident Jacob Gardenswartz delivers a highimpact performance designed and presented by teens to motivate their peers to see bullying in a new light. Gardenswartz, who just graduated from the Francis Parker School, recently won a Diller Teen Tikkun Olam scholarship worth $36,000 for his work with Theater of Peace. He was among ten students recognized by the Helen Diller Family Foundation for his commitment to the Jewish ideal of “tikkun olam,” or healing the world. At school assemblies,

Theater of Peace puts on an interactive show with seven to nine short skits that portray various bullying or abuse situations — name calling, domestic violence, homophobia, etc. — and invite the audience to empathize with the victim of bullying and think about how they can interrupt and counteract the negative behavior. The show is about more than just the victims and perpetrators of bullying. “We’re trying to reach out to people who are in that third category, who see it and don’t really know what to do,” Gardenswartz said. “We call them bystanders. We want them to be upstanders.” The performance assemblies complement a long-term curriculum developed by Interactions for Peace, the theater group’s partner organization. Theater of Peace has reached

Teens reenact an episode of bullying as part of the Theater of Peace program. more than 4,000 students in San Diego County and is now working to expand its to reach to an even broader audience. “This is a pretty intense program, but we think it’s important to be that way, because the other ways aren’t See Bullying, Page 10


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La Mesans in the News

La Mesa resident Rudy Kastelic has been appointed interim president of the San Diego Community College District’s Continuing Education division. Kastelic takes over from Dr. Anthony Beebe, who headed San Diego Continuing Education for eight years until his recent appointment as president of San Diego City Rudy Kastelic College. This is the second time Kastelic will have served as Continuing Education’s interim president; he held the same position during the 2005-06 academic year. Nearly 45,000 students attend San Diego Continuing Education’s seven main campuses and many community locations each year. Continuing Education is one of the oldest and largest noncredit institutions in the nation, serving the area since 1914. Kastelic worked as director of adult education at the Sweetwater Union High School District from 1997 through 2005. Following his year as interim president of Continuing Education in 2006, Kastelic worked for a year with SDCCD Facilities Management. He then joined the nonprofit California Adult Student Assessment System and returned to SDCCD last year. Kastelic earned his bachelor of science degree in economics and business administration from St. Mary’s College and his master’s degree in social work from San Diego State University. Kastelic will begin his new role on August 1.

La Mesa Courier August 2014 ENTERTAINMENT

By Jake Sexton, Librarian

Comic books offer more than just superhero fantasies

With the chaos of ComicCon winding down, you may think that you never want to see a superhero again as long as you live. But that doesn’t mean you have to keep comics at arm’s length. There are many excellent comics and graphic novels that have no capes, no supervillains and no colorful sidekicks. Comics may have a tendency toward juvenile power fantasies, but comics can also be personal, autobiographical, poignant, satirical, astute and even literary. “Transmetropolitan” is one of my very favorite comic series. Take a famed lunatic journalist like Hunter S. Thompson, and drop him into a Blade Runner-esque caricature of today’s media-drenched society, and you’re on the right track. It’s the story of explo-

sive, misanthropic journalist Spider Jerusalem searching for truth and sanity in a sci-fi world of ultra-haves and mega-have-nots. Manic, and darkly satirical, with eyepopping art, this comic is jammed with visual jokes. You grow to love the characters, despite (or because of?) their profane outbursts and sour dispositions. If you’ve ever watched “The Walking Dead” on TV and thought “this just isn’t depressing enough,” try the comic by Robert Kirkman! There are plenty of differences between the show and the books that inspired it, but the books manage to maintain one of the bleakest outlooks in all of post-apocalyptic fiction. Sure, you’re barely surviving in a destroyed world overrun by ravenous zombies, but the ruthlessness and desperation of your fellow man might even See La Mesa Reads, Page 9

Jazz Wednesdays - Gilbert Castellanos Jazz Jam at Seven Grand. Free. 9 p.m. – 3054 University Ave., 92104 Fridays - Sam Johnson Jazz Group at Cosmos Coffee Cafe. Free. 3 - 5 p.m. Cosmos​ – 8278 La Mesa Blvd., 91942 Saturdays - Jazz with George and Alan at Bistro Sixty. Free. 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. – 5987 El Cajon Blvd., 92115 Saturdays – Douglas Kvandal with the LiveJazz! Quartet at the Amigo Spot at the Kings Inn. Free. 7 p.m. – 1333 Hotel Circle So., 92108 August 16 – Stage IV Jazz at San Pasqual Winery Tasting Room. Free. 7 p.m. – 8364 La Mesa Blvd., 91942

Classical July 25 - Danny Elfman’s Music from the Films of Tim Burton at the Embarcadero Marina Park So. $28 – $90. 8 p.m. - 1 Marina Park Way, 92101

Sixty. Free. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Call and hold your table: 619-287-8186 – 5987 El Cajon Blvd., 92115 Wednesdays – Westside Inflection at Riviera Supper Club. Free. 8 p.m. – 7777 University Ave., 91941 Fridays – Nathan Welden at Bistro Sixty. Free. 6:30 p.m. – 5987 El Cajon Blvd., 92115 July 26 & August 30 People of Earth at San Pasqual Winery Tasting Room. Free. 7 p.m. – 8364 La Mesa Blvd., 91942


Thursdays – Open Mic Acoustic Nights at Parkway Bar. Free. 7 p.m. – 9188 Fletcher Parkway, 91942 Thursdays – Musical Meditation (Kirtan) at Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga Studio. Free. 8:15 – 9:15 p.m. Pilgrim​ – 3287 Adams Ave, 92116 August 9 – Ria Carey and Don L Sing Broadway and Movie Tunes at Vision. $15. 7 p.m. 6154 Mission Gorge Rd., Suite 100, 92120 Bands, venues, and musiclovers: please submit listings for this calendar by emailing

July 25 – Hills Like Elephants, Relations, and Soft Lions at Soda Bar. $6. 9 p.m. – 3615 El Cajon Blvd., 92104 July 26 – The Burning of Rome, Mursic, SanguinDrake, and Spero at Brick by Brick. $12-$15. 8:45 p.m. – 1130 Buenos Ave, San Diego, 92110 August 8 – The Sleepwalkers at Riviera Supper Club. Free. 9 p.m. RivieraSupper​Club. com – 7777 University Ave., 91941

Pop Tuesdays - Suzanne Shea and Bob Wade at Bistro

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La Mesa Reads

July 27– TICO Summer Pops Concert of light classics from Broadway, TV, film and more at the Social Hall of Tifereth Israel Synagogue. $20. 3 p.m. – 6660 Cowles Mountain Blvd., 92119 August 8 & 9 – Broadway Tonight featuring the musical Chicago at the Embarcadero Marina Park South. $22-$79. 7:30 p.m. sandiegosymphony. org – 1 Marina Park Way, 92101 August 29 – 31 – 1812 Tchaikovsky Spectacular at the Embarcadero Marina Park South. $22–$75. 7:30 p.m. – 1 Marina Park Way, 92101



La Mesa Courier

Gen-X in La Mesa Prayer and patience

By Genevieve A. Suzuki

The Sun Shines Sooner… By Pam Crooks

August finally brought the hot weather we’ve been waiting for (or not). With it came a favorite summer ritual: supper outside with friends, often involving homegrown vegetables. I don’t have a green thumb when it comes to vegetables, but I have one friend who can grow almost anything. And she’s a great cook besides. We recently had a memorable meal on her patio overlooking the hills of La Mesa. The menu was almost completely prepared with vegetables from her garden. It started with great gazpacho and went on from there. On another night, we sat at a long table filled with good food and conversation in the backyard garden of another La Mesa couple. It was a magical evening. We are certainly blessed with good friends, but also PLEASE NOTE to live in La Mesa where we NEW PUBLISHING have more space to garden SCHEDULE and eat outside when the weather is great, which it is Beginning August 22, most of the time. One of the the La Mesa Courier other joys of living here is the will be published on the quick and easy access to the fourth Friday of each beach or harbor front. One month. Ad deadline hot afternoon, Ted and I took is one week before our books and beach chairs the publishing date. to Harbor Island overlooking San Diego Bay. Another day See Pam Crooks, Page 14

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The world is a lonely place without faith. Whether your faith is in God, Allah, family or friends, it’s comforting to have that invisible thread binding you to something bigger than just you. This summer I wanted to share with my 5-year-old the gift of faith, so I began teaching her to pray. Who knew prayer could be so difficult? The first time we prayed before bedtime, I led the way by having my usual conversation with God. I never knew just how much I rambled during these conversations until I had an audience. I started by thanking Him for my family and their health, sloppily segued into thanking Him for giving me work, and then asking Him to watch over my cases and, by the way, could He please help me with my upcoming hearings? If God has a mute button, I’m pretty sure it bears my name. Finally, it was Quinn’s turn. Cracking an eye open, I turned to her and prompted, “What do you want to tell God?” “Nothing!” she said, rather quickly and forcefully. Wait — what? How could she have “nothing” to say? Or even to ask for? When I was a kid, I used to ask for things all the time. “Hi, God! Please let my algebra teacher lose her tests,” or, “Please, God, let me wake up and find my room mysteriously clean,” or even, “God, please let my parents lose their voices.” These requests were never granted, but it made me feel better just to put it out there in the universe. I realized then I had to actually teach Quinn what to say during her prayers. She’d never really heard me praying so she wouldn’t know what to say. Most important, she needed to learn gratitude. “OK, Quinn, let’s start with thanking God. Did something really good happen today?” “Yes,” she said before clamming up again. This was beginning to feel like a cross-examination. “What happened today?” “I played with my friend, Mia!” “Did you like playing with Mia?”

“Yes.” “All right, you can tell God ‘thank you’ for giving you time with Mia!” “OK.” “Tell Him.” “Thank you … God … for giving me Mia.” Good enough. The next night we did the same thing. At least she didn’t do the “nothing” thing this time around. “So do you want to tell God ‘thank you’ for anything?” “Hang on, let me think,” she replied. I hung on for around five minutes before launching into another cross-examination. “OK, Quinn, did you get anything today?” “Yes,” she said, falling silent. “Ergh! What did you get?” “I got Twilight Sparkle!” she said, naming a My Little Pony doll. “Are you happy about it?” “Yes!” she said, getting more excited. “Can you thank God for that one?” “Thanks, God, for Twilight Sparkle!” OK, we were on a roll, so I asked her if there was anything she wanted to ask for from God. “Nope!” “Nothing?” “Nothing!” she said. “World peace?” “Nope!” We have a ways to go with civics and this kid. After a week of prodding, pushing and pulling, Quinn finally started speaking for herself. She thanked God for her grandparents and for enrolling her in SeaWorld Camp. She also thanked Him for letting her take kung fu and piano lessons. At first I wondered if I was getting shortchanged. She never thanked me or her dad for all of those things, and I am pretty sure we were the ones filling out applications and forking over the cash for lessons. But then it hit me that I had a lot to be grateful for as well. The fact we can send her to classes and can afford to do what we want for our daughter makes us awfully lucky people. So after we prayed one day, I offered silent thanks for all that we have. It was overwhelming to really understand, even for an instant, how much we have been blessed. Yes, the world is a pretty lonely world without faith. Thank God there is always something bigger than just you.

August 2014


La Mesa Courier August 2014 NEWS

History Lady brings memories to life for seniors, students By Cynthia Robertson

La Mesa resident Jeanette Alessio-Way eats, sleeps and breathes history. When she begins her talks on history, however, people don’t cover their mouths to stifle a yawn; instead, they lean forward to listen more closely. They will smile and talk, maybe for the first time in months.

The History Lady holds an illustration of Rosa Parks at a recent presentation. The “History Lady” gives one-hour presentations on history that bridge the past to the present in a way that

heals people. She brings with her various items such as dolls and wagons from past decades, telling stories and asking people, “Remember when?” The result is triggering memories from the past for the people, awakening something in them long forgotten. For example, when AlessioWay gave her presentation recently at the Remington Club, an assisted living center in Rancho Bernardo, the nurse went up to her afterward to thank her. “She told me that every single person responded, from low-function to high function,” Alessio-Way said. That is the History Lady’s goal. Her passion for history began almost as an afterthought 20 years ago when her mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Alessio-Way cared for her as long as she could, but the day came when she had to place her mother in a nursing home. She visited her every night for four years. Instead of immersing herself in despair, AlessioWay looked around and asked herself what she could do. So she got herself a couple of hula skirts, a coconut bra to go

over her blouse, a custom surfboard and ukulele and did a presentation on the history of Hawaii. Ever since that first program she did on Hawaii, she has discovered a niche for herself in teaching history. The History Lady tells “their story,” lessons and memory aids for people on things that were a part of their childhood and youth. Way goes to schools, senior centers, hospitals and retirement centers that regularly hire her to come out and help jog people’s memories — and virtually their lives. Recently, the History Lady received the George Chandler Award from the Small Business Association. “The award was given to me for my leadership and unique services provided to seniors, making history come alive and allowing them to capture and record their memories and contributions,” she said. “Receiving the award was like that Phoenix rising out of the ashes. It was like the approval of all those who I have touched all these years.” The History Lady is in high demand. See The History Lady, Page 10

What’s Cooking with Julie 

by Julie White

Garbanzo or Chickpea Salad You can have cans of chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) on hand in your pantry to whip up a quick, nutritious salad for dinner.

Garbanzo or Chickpea Salad Salad ingredients: 2 - 15 oz. cans of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed 1 small jar of marinated artichoke hearts, chopped 4 large sundried tomatoes, chopped 1/2 of a 12 oz. jar of fire roasted red peppers chopped 8 oz. cherry tomatoes cut in half 6 scallions sliced Handful of basil leaves, torn in pieces

Handful of parsley leaves, chopped 2 oz. shaved fresh Parmesan cheese 1 good pinch of salt and pepper Dressing ingredients: 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil 1 Tbsp. of sherry vinegar Juice of 1/2 a lemon 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 garlic clove crushed Pinch of salt and pepper

Instructions: Whisk the dressing together in a small jar and refrigerate. Combine all of the salad ingredients except the cheese in a bowl and mix well. Chill at least an hour if possible. Add dressing and Parmesan cheese before serving and combine well. You can add olives, chicken or tuna to this recipe — it’s very versatile!


La Mesa Reads, from page 6 be worse. The series’ stark, black and white artwork helps keep the mood anxious and lonely. While there is an extensive list of independent, autobiographical comics out there, “Persepolis” is unique because of its point of view. Marjane Satrapi writes of her experience as a young girl growing up in Iran before, during and after the Islamic revolution. Simple stories of family gatherings and teen angst are complicated by government terror, religious fanaticism and minor resistance behind closed doors. Satrapi tells her own story in simple black and white drawings, but the oppression and fear are vivid. Ed Brubaker has written for nearly every popular superhero in modern times, but his gift never shines brighter than when he’s writing about crime. “Criminal” is an anthology of modern noir written by Brubaker and illustrated by Sean Baker. Hard-boiled thugs, heists gone wrong, menacing gang lords and more bad decisions than you can shake a stick at fill these smart, twisty tales of greed,

La Mesa Courier

August 2014

CASA, from page 1

lust, regret and revenge. Of course, I can’t help but mention that we have a Comic Lovers Book Club now at the library, every third Tuesday at 6 p.m. Everyone shares and critiques the titles they’ve been reading lately, lots of graphic novels are available for check-out and we even bring old comics from home to swap with others. And if after all this you’re dying to hear about books without little pictures in them, come to our Coffee + Books event on August 13 at 10 a.m. to hear a panel of librarians recommend some of their favorite recent reads, and enjoy some breakfast refreshments on us. News from our Friends The Friends of the La Mesa Library held its general membership meeting on June 19 and elected board officers for the next two years. Those officers are: President John Schmitz, Vice President Deborah Ives, Treasurer Bob Thatcher, Secretary Eileen Schmitz, Publicity/ Web Manager Bob Duff and Membership Manager Joyce Purcell. The Friends of the La Mesa Library board meets

the fourth Thursday of each month in the bookstore, and all are welcome to attend. The Friends would like to encourage you to donate your gently used books to the library. All donations are first reviewed by library staff to see if there is anything needed for the general collection, with the remainder given to the Friends for sale in the bookstore. If you would like to help run the bookstore or help the Friends in their efforts to promote the La Mesa Community Library, please contact Friends President John Schmitz at (619) 460-1744. More info is also available at

Artwork from the “Criminal” comic series by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. (Marvel Comics)

being placed with an adoptive family, had no experience with the law or child development, other than raising her own kids. She simply wanted to find a way to volunteer that would make as big an impact as possible. She was recruited and trained by Voices for Children, the nonprofit organization that manages the CASA volunteer program. Because Warren’s CASA kid was taken in by relatives who already have two of their own children, they began having problems getting the foster child to her therapy appointments. Warren offered to take the girl to her appointments. “When that one volunteer is on the case the whole time, I’ve seen them advocate for consistent, focused, good quality therapy,” said Cailin Freeman, senior program manager at Voices for Children. In another recent case, a 12-year-old foster child had an infant sibling she had never met who was placed in a separate foster home. For some reason, the social worker on the case did not think to try to unify the two siblings under one roof. Thanks to the advocacy of the girl’s CASA volunteer, the siblings were eventually introduced and placed together in the same foster home, Freeman said. Voices for Children is now working to recruit more CASAs. Volunteers must be at least 21 years old and must be able to commit 10 to 15 hours a month to their duties for a period of 18 months. No previous experience in child care, education or law is required. The organization puts all volunteers through a rigorous 35-hour training course and

then provides them with the ongoing support of a paid professional advocacy supervisor. Voices for Children trained more than 1,200 CASA volunteers over the last fiscal year, and those volunteers served approximately 2,000 children. But with so many children in need, the organization still has a long way to go to meet its final goal of serving 3,400 children by 2017. (A subset of the foster child population does not need a CASA because they are already in a stable situation and are just waiting for the legal process to run its course.) “We’re closer to our goal than ever,” Freeman said. Something like threequarters of CASAs are women — a statistic the organization is hoping to change by encouraging more men to volunteer. Many of the juveniles in need are boys who need a positive, consistent adult male figure in their life. CASAs are not necessarily supposed to be mentors to the children, however, and Voices for Children wants potential volunteers to understand that their role is to identify gaps and problems in the foster child’s care that need to be addressed. “You could be assigned to a kid who isn’t going to connect to you on a personal level, but you’re going to be able to help them get the resources that they need,” Freeman said. Voices for Children invites anyone interested in volunteering to attend an information session in Kearny Mesa. The sessions will be held on the following dates: August 9 from 10 to 11:30 a.m.; August 13 from noon to 1:30 p.m. and Aug. 25 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

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La Mesa Courier August 2014 NEWS

The History Lady, from page 8 “No one else does what I do. Everything is done by memory. I bring artifacts to go with every single thing, but in twenty years, I’ve never repeated a program,” she said. Once when she did a program at Fredericka Manor in Chula Vista, she pulled a child’s sleigh telling stories of the old days of fun in the snow. A woman who hadn’t spoken in four years said, clear as a bell, “My father pulled me.” “The residents and the staff could hardly believe that she actually spoke,” Alessio-Way said. Even at 73 years, Alessio-Way does not feel the need to slow down. She makes frequent trips all over Southern California, including Orange County and Los Angeles. “What keeps me going is the love of what I do and the fact that I get a positive reaction and love just flows out of the people,” she said. Activities Director Patty Bible at Mt. Miguel Covenant Center regularly hires the History Lady to give her talks. “Jeanette makes history come alive. We love her,” Bible said. The History Lady visits schools, too, doing presentations for second through 12th grades. “The students are so energized, and they want to participate, they want to touch,” she said. “Everyone has a story. They’re all part of history,” she said. For more information, visit the History Lady’s website at

Bullying, from page 5 working. Writing a list of ways to stop bullying on a whiteboard hasn’t worked,” Gardenswartz said. While bullying has existed as long as anyone can remember, the nature of bullying today is harder for adults to police because so much of it is done online and anonymous, Gardenswartz

said. “We try and use cyberbullying and social media in our work a lot,” he said. “I think as students we’re able to relate a little better than a psychologist or police officer would. We know what Snapchat and Vine and all of those things are.” Despite its new forms,

the causes of bullying haven’t changed much. There is, of course, the obvious desire to boost one’s social standing by putting others down, but that does not explain all bullying, Gardenswartz said. “Lots of times people aren’t so aware of how impactful their words are,” he said. “Often it’s merely not having the foresight to see your words and actions can be as hurtful as they are.” And of course, bullying often arises as kids imitate bad behavior from role models, especially family members who engage in behavior that might not be perceived as bullying at home. The program has benefited from Gardenswartz’s extensive experience in theater, according to Sharla Mandere, the director of Theater of Peace. “He knows theater inside and out,” Mandere said. “He’s incredibly talented.” This fall Gardenswartz will attend the University of Pennsylvania, where he plans to major in political science or communication and minor in theater. He also hopes to develop Theater of Peace into a broader program in more cities around the country.


Summer brings big name bands just down the road By Jen Van Tieghem

Lucky for La Mesa, some everything from Apple to Cocabands treat San Diego like a Cola. In a short time the band second home. We may not have has garnered media praise and our own arena-sized venue loyal fans. Their charisma and within city limits, but La Mesa chemistry on stage will keep residents don’t have to travel concert goers enthralled. far to see some of the biggest Portugal. The Man has also names in live music today. been on the rise, getting their The alt-rock bands Grou- own push in the advertising plove and Portugal. world thanks The Man, both to a Taco Bell currently on the commercial last Grouplove and Honda Civic Tour, year. The band Portugal. The Man has seen shifts will share the stage on Aug. 17 at the Cal in their lineup Sunday, August 17 Coast Credit Union and style over Doors open at 6 p.m. Open Air Theatre — the past decade Show at 7 p.m. the premier outdoor landing now in Tickets $29.50+ music venue just a progressive down the road at pop vein. Adding edu/calcoast San Diego State to their appeal, University. in-demand This year the Honda Civic talent Brian “Danger Mouse” Tour celebrates its 13th annual Burton produced their latest series of shows. The lineups album, Evil Friends. Check out consistently represent what’s the infectious single “Purple popular in rock, pop, and Yellow Red and Blue” for a other genres. Grouplove and solid example of their addictive Portugal. The Man definitely fit quality. the tour’s model. Both bands on this bill Grouplove’s pop sensibility walk the line between pop is reflected in their synth-laden accessibility and inventive rock songs and energetic live perfor- making for a standout lineup in mances. The band’s catchy the barrage of upcoming shows. tunes have appropriately found The Honda Civic Tour, their way into commercials for and this local date especially,

epitomize what music lovers enjoy about summer concerts. The Open Air Theatre’s layout and capacity (just under 5,000) lends itself to the blending of a big concert experience while still providing an intimate atmosphere. The tiered seating gives ticket holders decent views from various points. Of course, those who want to be close will want to look into pit level seating. With these captivating acts — that prime vantage point might be worth paying for.

OTHER OPEN AIR THEATRE SUMMER SHOWS Wednesday, Aug. 6 – Arctic Monkeys Thursday, Aug. 7 & Friday, August 8 – Rebelution with Iration and Guests Saturday, Aug. 9 – Sara Bareilles Saturday, Aug. 23 – John Legend Wednesday, Aug. 27 – Panic! at the Disco Sunday, Aug. 31 – David Gray

La Mesa Courier

August 2014


La Mesa Courier August 2014 NEWS

Grossmont High School

Foothiller Footsteps 

Grossmont will induct new members into its Hall of Honor on its 95th anniversary in 2015. From the 1960s to the 1980s, 26 alumni were selected as Honor Graduates; in 2010 these honorees became part of the newly renamed Hall of Honor. The Hall of Honor recognizes notable alumni or dedicated faculty, staff or community members. The 31 people listed below distinguished themselves in one of these areas: athletics, academics, arts, public service or committed faculty, staff or community members. These honorees brought honor to Grossmont High School after their graduation or through their years of dedicated involvement with Grossmont. This illustrious group includes three astronauts: Bill Anders, Ellen Ochoa and Rick Sturckow; Grossmont High School Holding plaques that is the only high acknowledge their school in the nation achievements are Hall to have had three of Honor honorees Bill of its students Davis, George Bailey, become astronauts. Ben Cloud and Jim Currently, Ellen Spackman. Copies of Ochoa is Director of these plaques are on the Johnson Space display in the museum. Center. Each astronaut donated memorabilia carried on board their flights to GHS, which is on view in the museum. Other distinguished alumni include See Foothillers, Page 15

By Connie and Lynn Baer

Hall of Honor Alumni Inductees Class Name 1925 1926 1927 1927 1928 1928 1929 1932 1935 1937 1938 1938 1940 1942 1942 1946 1948 1949 1949 1951 1951 1954 1958 1961 1962 1965 1972 1975 1978

Lawrence Carr Captain Howard M. Avery, USN Paul Mannen Brigadier General Osmond Ritland Walter Barnett Judge Fenton Garfield Amorita Treganza Ellamarie Packard Wooley Richard O’Brien George Bailey Frances Ellen Coughlin Douglas L. Inman, Phd. Dr. Robert H. Kokernot Clark Allen Dan Lewis Reverend Franklin “Bud” Held Bill Davis Ben Cloud Frederick Martin Donahue Bill Anders Gordon Austin Don Shields James Choi Spackman Michael D. Madigan Steve Starr Connie Baer Michele M. Marsh Ellen Ochoa Rick Sturckow

GHS Staff or Community Members Colonel Ed Fletcher, GHS benefactor Coach Jack Mashin, GHS coach and teacher, 1923-1960

Rent Sense: Respect Your Customers By Neil Fjellestad and Chris De Marco, FBS Property Management Independent rental owners contact us daily for advice and seek our management help to optimize rental operations. We ask the hard questions — what specifically are they doing to motivate renters to sign a long-term lease at top rental rates and pay the rent on time, every month? Perhaps the following will help you get started on your own. Why not make a few minor adjustments to improve the appeal of the exterior of your property? You are saying with your actions that property value is as important to you as the monthly rent collected. Do your rent and repair policies demonstrate respect? Your wise property expenditures are a reflection of your respect for your resident(s) as well as your property value. Are you making it easy for your rental customers to do business with you? Make it easy for your residents to pay rent and submit maintenance requests online from their smart phone. Potential renters should be able to fill out an application the same way. These modern technologies ensure that monies and information move with speed and security. It also says that you want to compete to keep your renter(s), that you respect their time and their money. Are you on top of what other rental properties are currently charging? Being competitively priced demonstrates customer respect. Your confidence in this regard will be evident in your resident decisions and communications including strict adherence to rent collection according to the lease. Your renter(s) will respect your requirements.

NEWS IN BRIEF Youth Commission recruiting new members

La Mesa’s Youth Advisory Commission is accepting applications for several openings. Applicants must live within La Mesa city limits and be between ages 13 and 20 at the time of appointment.

The Commission encourages middle and high schoolers to work with their peers to develop activities that promote positive youth relations. Participants also gain volunteer experience that can be applied towards community service hours. Commission meetings are held on the second and fourth Monday of each month at 4:30 p.m. at the Community Center (4975 Memorial Dr.) Applications may be obtained online at or at La Mesa City Hall (8130 Allison Ave.) during business hours. Applications are due by 5:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 5 and must be returned to the City Clerk’s office at City Hall in order to be included in the interview process on Sept. 23. For more information call the Office of the City Clerk at (619) 667-1120.

Council seeks new Planning Commission member

Applications are being accepted on an ongoing basis for an opening on the City’s Planning Commission. Applicants must be resident electors of the City of La Mesa. The Planning Commission serves in an advisory capacity to the City Council on matters of planning, including review of the City General Plan. The Commission makes decisions on new development applications for special permits and land use entitlements. It also considers appeals in the administration and enforcement of the Zoning Ordinance. Commission meetings are held on the first and third Wednesday of each month at 7 See News Briefs, Page 14


La Mesa Courier

August 2014


Goodwill, from page 1 some clutter from the home can visit the donation center at the back of the store, which accepts clean, reusable items. Sharon Corrigan, director of communications with San Diego County’s sector of Goodwill stores, said the La Mesa Village location, which opened in 2011, does not have a donation center due to traffic related issues, but she is confident that this minor shortcoming will be offset by Lake Murray’s donation feature. Unlike most Goodwill locations in San Diego, though, the Lake Murray Goodwill store has an electronics donation

area. “This means that the public can donate residential electronics like computers, televisions and more, working or not, at no charge, seven days a week,” Corrigan said of the State of California certified program. “There is no longer any reason to wait for a local donation event to recycle those old electronics.” But not only does Goodwill act as a haven for those on a budget, Goodwill Industries has made its mission to provide job opportunities to veterans, the disabled and those with other employment barriers.

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Working by the motto, “Getting People Jobs!” more than 1,400 San Diegans are employed by Goodwill Industries and 28 have gone to work at the Lake Murray location. Mary England, president and CEO of the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, is welcoming the new location with open arms, as she said it boosts every aspect of the surrounding community. “With the track record that Goodwill has set for assisting people in communities with jobs and shopping needs, this Goodwill retail store hit a home run the day it opened,” England

said. “If opening day of this new location is any indicator of the popularity and need of this retail store, Goodwill will have a long and prosperous life in Lake Murray.” Employees at the store offered warm welcomes and seemed attentive to shoppers’ needs. England said that same level of customer service was in full force during the store’s grand opening celebration, where more than 100 shoppers lined up outside Goodwill before the door’s opened. “By 10:08 a.m., only eight minutes after the doors opened, there were zero shopping carts

available for customers and only four or five hand-held baskets left that were available for shoppers,” England said of the ribbon cutting ceremony and shopping extravaganza. For those who might not want to be tempted to explore Goodwill’s wallet-cheering deals, there are also three nearby freestanding donation centers in the MTS Trolley Parking lots at Spring Street, Amaya and 70th Street. The Lake Murray Goodwill is open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

La Mesa Courier August 2014 NEWS / CLASSIFIEDS

News Briefs, from page 12 p.m. in the City Council Chambers (8130 Allison Ave.) Applications may be obtained online at or at La Mesa City Hall (8130 Allison Ave., La Mesa) during business hours. Applications must be returned to the City Clerk’s office at City Hall. For more information call the Office of the City Clerk at (619) 667-1120.

La Mesa police partner with

On July 15, the La Mesa Police Department announced a partnership with Nextdoor. com, a free, private social media network for neighborhoods. The network aims to build stronger, safer communities by connecting neighbors.

Musketeers, from page 2 entire process is brand new.” Outside of the classroom, Skandunas is a freelance costume fabricator and professional tailor. She designs and creates costumes for Steam Powered Giraffe, a local band. She has an Etsy shop — Once Upon a Bustle — where she sells Victorian-inspired menswear. She is even the personal tailor to Glenn Hetrick, a judge on the Syfy reality program and special effects make-up competition, Face-Off. However, her smallest customers are her most wellknown ones: she is a freelance costume fabrication artist for Sideshow Collectibles, where

FREE CLASSIFIEDS Free classified ads are available to nonprofit organizations that do not charge for their services and private party items for sale. Only one ad per or organization will be accepted per issue as a free classified - additional ads must be paid for with submission of the ads. Free classifieds are limited to 25 words or less. Ads of more than 25 words cost 50¢ per additional word; payment must accompany the ad. All free classifieds will run for only one issue even if you indicate on the ad that you want it to run more than one time. No calls will be answered for free classifieds. Free classifieds MAY NOT be submitted online. Free classifieds must be submitted by mail or hand-delivered to 3737 Fifth Ave., Ste. 201 San Diego, CA 92103.

PAID CLASSIFIEDS $10/25 words or less Ads cost $10 for 25 words or less plus 50¢ per word over 25, payable in advance of publication only. Editor reserves the right to reject or re-classify any ads. Paid ads may run for any consecutive number of issues, provided that proper payment for the ads is received in advance. NO PHONE CALLS WILL BE ACCEPTED FOR RENEWAL OF ADS. THE LAST DATE PRE-PAID ADS WILL RUN IS PRINTED AFTER EACH AD.

Pam Crooks, from page 14

The integration will allow the LMPD to communicate online with La Mesa residents and Neighborhood Watch groups. Residents must verify that they live in a neighborhood to access the site. Residents can use Nextdoor to share information regarding neighborhood public safety issues, community events and activities, and local services. The LMPD will post information on the site including safety tips and crime alerts. The police department will not be able to access residents’ websites, contact information, or content and will only use it to share information with residents. Those interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch group should contact, or call the Crime Prevention Unit at 619-667-7545.

we zipped downtown on Hwy. 94, and tried the “new” Vintage Trolley on the Silver Line, which runs in a loop through downtown on weekends. If you wilt in hot weather, and would rather have an armchair adventure with the air-conditioner on, there’s another way to while away an afternoon. I just discovered a local open Facebook page, “You know you’re from La Mesa if…” Try it for a fun walk down memory lane, and you just might reconnect with an old school buddy from Northmont or La Mesa Dale or Lemon Avenue School, or discover some really useful information. Browsing this page in late July, I was surprised to discover a recent post by La Mesan Katie Erenata Greene: “Our very own Highlander, Bill Walton is building a state of the art gymnasium at the La Mesa Middle School Campus, adjacent to Helix Charter High School. The gym will be she has created costumes for a part of the latest Boys and 12-inch figures of Batman, Girls Club of East County. Captain America and G.I. Joe. Visitors of this year’s San Diego Comic-Con International will be able to see her designs in the company’s booth. Business Tickets for the “The Three Opportunity Musketeers” are $10–$15 and can be purchased by visiting Will your job alone give you the lifestyle www. / theatre, you deserve? Create true wealth and long term residual income with a part-time home calling 619-644-7234 or based business . We train and help support visiting the box office. Show- you to success. Call 858-278-2120 Your future is counting on you! ings take place at 7:30 p.m., (12/14) July 24, 25, 26, and at 2 p.m., Services July 30 and 31, at Grossmont College’s Stagehouse Theatre, Jenna’s Barber Shoppe. Styling for men, 8800 Grossmont College Dr. in women & children. Wheelchair friendly. Old time expert haircuts at affordable prices. El Cajon. Colors & perms. 7424 Jackson Dr.#1A (across

“Friends of Bill Walton” invite you to support their capital fundraising campaign to build this gym that will serve as an athletic facility for many deserving children and families. The fundraising goal is $3M. Donors of $1,000 or more will be recognized by name on the “Wall of Honor” in the planned gym…” I’m so glad to know about this project! Two of our sons played basketball in La Mesa. This is a fitting way to give

back to the community for the important lessons they learned while playing the sport, and for all the fun we had and friends we made while watching their games. Pam is on vacation. This column is a reprint from the August 2012 issue of the La Mesa Courier, with the addition of this recent Facebook post she found. For more details about the gymnasium project, visit

Puzzle solutions, from page 15

Sudoku Crossword

Local Classified Ads

from Keil’s in Bank of America lot) Tues-Fri., 8:30-5:30pm; Sat. 8:30-noon. Walk-ins or By appt., 619-644-3669. (12/14)

When counting words – a word is a word, regardless of the number of letters. A telephone number is a word. An address such as “10000 San Diego Mission Road” is 5 words. We do not mail “proofs of publication” for classifieds. No personals are accepted. Paid classifieds may be submitted by mail or hand-delivered to 3737 Fifth Ave., Ste. 201 San Diego, CA 92103. For your convenience, paid classified ads may be placed using our self-serve system online at Classifieds.

SPECIAL NOTICE The La Mesa Courier reserves the right to edit or refuse classified ads due to inappropriate content, space considerations, etc. The La Mesa Courier assumes no financial responsibility for errors nor for omission of copy for classified ads. By submission of ad, advertisers agree to indemnify and hold the La Mesa Courier harmless from any claims and expenses arising from the publication of any ad. No refunds given or cancellations accepted unless such notice is received by mail 10 days prior to the publication date. MAKE SURE YOU REMIT THE CORRECT AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR THE AD – WE ARE UNABLE TO CONTACT YOU - NOR RUN THE AD - IF THE INCORRECT AMOUNT OF MONEY IS SENT WITH THE AD. Your cancelled check is your receipt.

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La Mesa Courier

August 2014


Answers on page 14

Foothillers, from page 12 entertainer and nationally renowned children’s ophthalmologist Amorita Treganza, Emmy award winner Michele M. Marsh and Pulitzer Prize photographer Steve Starr. For a list of all these outstanding Foothillers with a brief description of their achievements, email ghsmuseum@ We are currently accepting nominations for the 2015 induction. Please include the following with your nomination: the year of the individual’s graduation or years of service to Grossmont as well as a brief description of the person’s accomplishments


(three to five sentences) and your name and email address or mailing address. Please join us for Grossmont’s 94th Homecoming on Friday, Sept. 19. Visit the campus and witness firsthand the wonders of our past and present. The GHS Museum will be open from 4:30 7 p.m. on Homecoming. Summer hours: Wednesday, Aug. 6 from noon to 4 p.m. and Saturday, Aug. 16 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Campus tours will be held on Aug. 16 on the half hour. Call the museum at (619) 668-6140, send email to or address postal mail to GHS Museum, P.O. Box, 1043, La Mesa, CA 91944.

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La Mesa Courier August 2014


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MOUNT HELIX • $950,000

LAKESIDE • $349,000 - $399,000*

Above the clouds in Mt. Helix! Custom home built by owner/architect in 2007. Endless vistas from every room, 4BR, 4BA, approx. 3,100 SF in exclusive gated pocket of gorgeous homes!

Charming 3BR, 2BA home on a .25-acre lot. Nicely remodeled with open kitchen, updated bathrooms, plantation shutters and crown molding. Serene backyard, fully fenced, with view deck!

Just Listed! Dazzling Mediterranean-style villa with soaring ceilings, sunlit rooms, graceful flow & majestic ambiance! Nearly 5,000 SF on approximately 1 acre! Private drive, tropical pool with waterfall, detached cabana, 4BR, 5BA, including 2 master suites!

LAURA LOTHIAN 619.540.7744

YVETTE WOODS 619.922.3436



8310 La Mesa Boulevard, La Mesa, CA 91942 • 619.337.1700

©MMVIII Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC.A Realogy Company. All Rights Reserved. Sotheby’s International Realty® is a registered trademark licensed to Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC. An Equal Opportunity Company. Equal Housing Opportunity. Each Office is Independently Owned And Operated. Cal. BRE #01767484 * Seller will entertain offers within the listed range.

La Mesa Courier - August 2014