Campaign for term limits for La Mesa's elected officials begins: Mayor says he's being targeted

LA MESA, Calif. - A controversial move to set term limits for politicians moved forward in La Mesa. Many believe it is targeting one person: longtime Mayor Art Madrid.

Supporters say they simply want the measure on the ballot before the people to decide. La Mesa's mayor of more than 20 years says the people have decided, and they chose him.

"I was asked by a number of people, 'Do you think they're targeting you' and … I said yes," said Madrid.

He says he has reason to believe he is the one in the crosshairs. It was outside his office that the campaign for term limits for La Mesa's elected officials began.  

Behind the push is La Mesa Vice Mayor Kristin Alessio, who insists it is nothing personal.

"It's almost impossible for it to be targeted at the mayor," she told 10News. "He has three extra terms if he were re-elected in November under the term limit provision."

Madrid argues that term limits are in place. After 24 years as mayor, he has survived all the elections, even after a public drunken scandal in 2008, where he admitted to throwing up in someone's yard.

10News spoke to him then.

"I had one too many," he told 10News during an interview in 2008. When asked if he was drunk, he said, "Not at all."

Today, he says it is still being used against him. 

"They don't know the circumstances that caused that incident," said Madrid. "As far as I'm concerned, it's in the past."

A 10News poll from back then – after his admission – still showed Madrid with a 45 percent approval rating.

"There's an unfair advantage to incumbency," said Alessio.

It is the very reason she says the people need a choice for new blood.

"I say, well let me respond in that context. If we need new blood, get a transfer. Get a transfusion," said Madrid.

There is still some work to be done to get the term limit measure on the ballot. Allesio tells 10News they are still waiting on official wording from the city attorney for the petition, and after that, they will need to collect more than 3,000 signatures to get it on the ballot.

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