Six candidates vying for open La Mesa City Council seat
Six candidates are looking to fill the La Mesa City Council seat vacated earlier this year by Akilah Weber.
Mejgan Afshan, Kathleen Brand, Patricia Dillard, Laura Lothian, Michelle Louden and Jim Stieringer all qualified for the mail-only Nov. 2 ballot for the city's special election. The winner will finish the remainder of Weber's term, which ends in November 2022.
Weber left the council in April when she won the election to replace her mother, Shirley Weber, as the representative for Assembly District 79, after Shirley Weber was named Secretary of State last December.
Afshan was born in Afghanistan, and grew up in City Heights and La Mesa. She attended Grossmont College and graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in international relations. She is a founder of the East County Justice Coalition and works as executive director of the civil rights group Borderlands for Equity. Afshan is part of the San Diego Immigrants Rights Consortium and the Racial Justice Coalition.
Brand is a licensed landscape architect and works in the urban division of the city of San Diego's Development Services Department. Born in Chicago, Brand is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin at Madison and has been a La Mesa resident for 21 years. She is on the La Mesa Community Services Commission, helped start the community garden at MacArthur Park, and has volunteered her time to create various programs at several La Mesa schools.
Dillard is a native San Diegan, and has been a La Mesa resident for 25 years. She has a master's degree in organizational leadership from Point Loma Nazarene. Dillard and her husband have three children and two grandchildren. Dillard has been a small business owner, working in sales, business development and customer service. She currently works as part of a mortgage company. She serves as vice chair of the La Mesa Community Police Oversight Board.
Lothian, a Southern Californian for 40 years, has two daughters and one son who attended La Mesa schools. She started her real estate business in La Mesa in 2002. Lothian has served as vice chair of government affairs for the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors and is on the La Mesa Village Association board. Lothian was also on the city's Parking Commission for four years.
Louden is a behavioral analyst who said she hopes to bring a more community-focused perspective to Southern California politics. In her candidate statement, Louden said she looks at "investing in ourselves and our local communities to pull each other up... to be creative and think flexibly in order to move forward to a new future."
Stieringer is a former La Mesa city treasurer, served on the Grossmont Union High School District board of governors and was treasurer of the Grossmont Healthcare District. Stieringer is a retired U.S. Air Force captain and worked as a contracts manager for Teledyne Ryan.
Ballots will be mailed to voters and can be left in-person at an official drop-off location in La Mesa starting Monday, Oct. 25, through Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 2. In-person voting will be available at the San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office at 5600 Overland Ave., in San Diego. Ballots that are mailed must be postmarked on or before Election Day and received by the Registrar's office no later than Tuesday, Nov. 9, to be considered timely cast and counted.
This story originally appeared in San Diego Union-Tribune .