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La Mesa councilmember's disputed homelessness proposal fails to get to vote at meeting

Posted at 6:25 AM, May 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-11 09:25:58-04

LA MESA, Calif. (KGTV) – At a council meeting on Tuesday, La Mesa City Councilmember Laura Lothian proposed an idea for city staff to look into the possibility of buying a large part of land in Campo and turning it into a housing site for La Mesa's homeless.

"And I can't drive from point A to point B ever and not have encounters with homeless people or homeless encampments,” Lothian said.

While saying mental health, substance abuse, and housing are a part of the solution, Lothian motioned for city staff to investigate the land purchase.

"So, I have a real estate friend that has listing out in Campo,” Lothian said. "This is the property out in Campo. It's a former Army barracks."

But it wasn't met with much support during public comment.

"My concern as a health care worker is we do not have a hospital. We have one medical facility here. And if you're relocating as which you said earlier is not solving the problem,” said Campo resident Tina Reyes.

"It's pretty much out of sight, out of mind mentality, which really isn't a solution,” Campo resident Janet Castano said.

"I've been to this site that's being proposed to be purchased and I don't really see how this is going to help La Mesa's problems,” La Mesa Andy Trimlett added. "There's no mention of discussing this with the people of Campo or the homeless community."

Lothian said she hoped this site could help bolster the economy while generating government dollars to support the site.

"Again, wanted to explore a huge parcel that used to be an Army barracks instead of people living on dumpsters and living in parking lots,” Lothian said. "But I just want people to know it wasn't a shuffling and it wasn't a commission thing."

Ultimately, the proposal didn't make it past the Tuesday evening meeting and was closed after the motion did not receive a second from another council member to vote on the matter at the council meeting.