Meet New La Mesa City Council Member Laura Lothian

The fourth time was the charm of downtown La Mesa village real estate agent Laura Lothian by joining City Council.

Lothian, which has failed in three previous attempts to become elected official in the city of about 60,000, will be sworn in on Tuesday, November 23.

She will complete the final year of the four-year term of Dr Akilah Weber, who in 2018 became the city’s first black person elected to city council. Weber won the special election for the 79th Assembly District in April to take the decade-long seat held by his mother, Shirley Weber. The Assembly seat opened in January, when Shirley Weber was appointed Secretary of State for California.

“I love La Mesa,” Lothian said last week as the county registrar of electors counted the final votes. “I love the charm of a small town and I love that everything I need is here.

Lothian’s 4,474 votes captured about 38% of the city’s 10,703 registered voters who voted. Backed by the local Republican Party under the leadership of strategist Carl DeMaio, Lothian finished far ahead of Mejgan Afshan (2,523), Patricia Dillard (2,370), Jim Stieringer (1,275), Kathleen Brand (796) and Michelle Louden (205 ).

His campaign pushed for clean streets and parks; the end of the vehicle mileage tax supported by the San Diego Association of Governments and other groups; supporting small businesses; and supporting the police service.

Lothian, 60, was formerly a member of the town’s Parking Commission and is currently a board member of the La Mesa Village Association. She unsuccessfully ran for a seat on city council in 2012 and 2020.

Additionally, as an unknown relative, she clashed with the mayor of La Mesa Art Madrid in 2010. She said she saw a letter to the editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune that mentioned how curious he was that no one came up against Madrid and decided she would do her best.

This race was decided by 724 votes, Lothian having failed with 6,109 votes against 6,833 for Madrid. She said the elections showed Madrid could be beaten. Four years later, Mark Aapostathis toppled Madrid after six terms at the head of the city. He won more than 6,000 votes against 4,200 for Madrid. Arapostathis was re-elected in 2018.

“I ran against Art Madrid not because he did something horrible or awful,” Lothian said, “but because I don’t like someone being in the same position for 20 or 30. I like term limits.

She said she plans to run again for a board seat at the end of her term next November.

Lothian was born in Louisiana, raised in New England, and moved to Southern California at the age of 20. She graduated in journalism from Cal State Long Beach and has two adult daughters and a grown son.

She lives on Lemon Avenue, within walking distance of her office in the village. She is one of the city’s most successful real estate agents. Getting up at 6 a.m. and working until 8 p.m., she still sets aside time to play pickleball five days a week, mostly at Collier Park.

“It’s a fantastic sport,” Lothian said. “Collier Park is my favorite place. A few years ago, sport had the reputation of being reserved for people in retirement homes. Now if you’re 60, you can’t find a game with people your age. Everyone is younger. It’s a physically demanding sport that offers a great time and a big crowd. It’s a great place to make friends.

She said her “extremely hilarious and brilliant” father, who died of a heart attack at the age of 57, was an award-winning NASA physicist. Her mother, “a Guatemalan beauty queen and registered nurse”, lives in Del Cerro. Her sister, Deborah Vance, is a successful real estate agent who lives in Imperial Beach.

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