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Tuesday November 2, 2021 — Local Elections
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City of La MesaCandidate for City CouncilShort Term

Photo of Kathleen Brand

Kathleen Brand

City Planner/Landscape Architect
517 votes (6.5%)
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • Equity-to serve all La Mesa residents and businesses
  • Transparency-to rebuild residents’ confidence in local government
  • Quality of life-to improve our neighborhood's infrastructure and open space for all residents



Profession:City Planner/Landscape Architect
Senior Planner, City of San Diego-Development Services Department (2019–current)
Community Services Commissioner, Community Services Commission — Appointed position (2019–current)


University of Wisconsin-Madison Bachelor of Science in Landscape Architecture, Landscape Architecture and German Literature (1988)

Community Activities

Volunteer, La Mesa Community Garden (2019–2021)
Volunteer, La Mesa Historical Society (2016–2019)
Sidewalk Improvement Plan, Sidewalk Improvement Plan-City of La Mesa (2016–2016)
Volunteer, La Mesa Spring Valley School System (2000–2015)



I have lived in La Mesa for 21 years and have been volunteering in the community for 20 years. My husband and I bought our first house here in La Mesa and have raised our two sons here.

I currently serve on the La Mesa Community Services Commission (CSC). The CSC is La Mesa's park and rec board. We work to improve parks and services throughout La Mesa. With my determination, the City has hired a consultant to review the park fee schedules for developers, in order to raise more money for parks, and if elected, I would vote to raise the fees.

As a City of La Mesa volunteer, I worked together with a small team of volunteers to establish the first community garden at MacArthur Park.  I have also been involved in the sidewalk improvement plan, several park master plan workshops and community town hall meetings over the years, as well as attending City Council meetings.


I currently work for the City of San Diego as a planner and landscape architect. I would like to bring my knowledge and experience to La Mesa.

Who supports this candidate?

Individuals (6)

  • Joseph Braunwarth PhD-Chair Political Economy Department, Grossmont College
  • Art Madrid - former Mayor of La Mesa
  • Aaron Amerling-founder La Mesa Village Voice
  • Bonnie Baranhoff-Chair, La Mesa's Citizen Task Force on Homelessness
  • Rick Turner-La Mesa resident, owner of Kappa Surveying
  • Carl Brandt-former owner Moving Shoes

Questions & Answers

Questions from League of Women Voters of San Diego (2)

What action (personal or professional) that you have taken most exemplifies how you will execute the duties of the office in the coming term, if you are elected?
Answer from Kathleen Brand:

Working for the City of San Diego, I know when you are in the public sector, you work for the citizens.  As a candidate I can bring ideas , programs, and vision, but ultimately, I work for the people.

Even while dealing with immediate crises, city councils must find time for long-term strategic planning. What are the three biggest challenges facing the City of La Mesa in the next ten years, and how would you use this office to help prepare for (and meet) those challenges?
Answer from Kathleen Brand:

The three  biggest challenges La Mesa is facing are affordable housing, the  homeless, and climate change.


Affordable housing is housing for working class people. We can see all the new developments going up, and those coming forward. Only a small percentage of the new units are set aside as affordable, and most are at the higher level of affordability, 80% AMI. The City has Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) goals, which they are required to meet. As a city council member I would work on ordinances to provide more affordable units at a variety of levels. I would also make the commitment that if City property is developed for housing, it would be 100% affordable units at a minimum of 60% AMI.


There must be a regional multi-prong approach to help the homeless. La Mesa will not solve this on our own, so I believe we should be working with our neighbors, Lemon Grove, El Cajon, Santee and the County to provide a comprehensive plan for East County, that will serve the region. This plan would address emergency shelters, supportive housing with wrap around services, and a variety of affordable housing units.


Addressing climate change starts with infrastructure. We need to provide safe access for residents, other than driving a car. This would include implementation of the sidewalk improvement plan, starting with sidewalks within a half mile radius of schools and parks. It would include implementation of the bicycle master plan and the development of areas for segregated bike paths. And we can not talk about climate change without promoting the planting of trees for shade, to address the urban heat island effect, and the absorption of carbon dioxide. We need street trees, to further development of our parks and green space, and to work with residents to promote planting trees on private property.

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

I believe we should invest in all our neighborhoods with sidewalks, crosswalks, ADA ramps and park improvements.


I believe we should promote businesses throughout the community to better serve adjacent residential neighborhoods.


I believe that government should be transparent in all their decisions and creation of policies.


I believe to improve the quality of life for all residents we should find the funding to build a new public library to meet the requirements of the County Library system and residents’ needs.


I believe we should upgrade all City Parks, such as new and inclusive play equipment, safe public restrooms, expanded dog parks and overdue repairs.


I believe we should implement the sidewalk improvement plan and bicycle master plan for safer routes to schools and businesses, plus better access to parks and open space.


I believe we should strengthen our Design Review Board and our Historic Preservation Commission to keep La Mesa the Jewel of the Hills.

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