Last month the north side of Broadway is like a park, and the south side a ghetto.
So here's what happened: I talked to local business owners, and I sent an e-mail to the mayor and all the city council members.
Mayor Mary Sessom was the only one from the city to answer, and I am including her entire e-mail so I do not distort her answer.
I have to agree with you on the south side of Broadway. It has been so frustrating. We made offers on the front facing Broadway. We made offers on the back facing Golden. There has been a mind-set for those owners to let things deteriorate. I can't understand why! That money was redirected elsewhere and is no longer available.
I do have to disagree on Lemon Grove becoming “ghetto.” True, there are some buildings all over town that are worrisome, but we're putting code enforcement on them when they come to our attention. The Council last week authorized Code Enforcement to start targeting businesses who are using illegal signs. We have volunteers cleaning up the “yard sale” signs tacked to phone poles. We have the big development going on downtown with the last of the redevelopment money that should give that area a boost. Considering how bad our budgets have been, I think we're showing some progress.
In my mind the best way to send a message to the owners of the buildings on the south side of Broadway is to stop patronizing them AND let the business owners know why. There are a few who keep their storefronts decent. They should be applauded. Thank you for helping them keep some semblance of cleanliness. Unfortunately, it only takes a couple of careless absentee owners to bring the whole area down!
Thank you for voicing your feelings and thoughts.
Mary T. Sessom
28 year LG homeowner
Mayor City of Lemon Grove
My response to her is below, because she did not address the main question: Is there any way to make the land owners responsible? And I have an opinion on her way of helping our city.
Thank you for getting back to me. Is there any way the city can make these land owners accountable? Can they be cited for unsafe and unkempt property?
The word “ghetto” may be offensive to you, however in just the last six months I have walked past overflowing trash, graffiti, pools of blood, vomit, dog poop, human urine. I have had to say excuse me to get past groups of young males blocking the sidewalk, and just Monday I was physically and verbally attacked by a transient. (I'm a woman in my late 50s).
Spending time and money on signs is the last on my list, personally.
I don't really know the business owners. I have recently talked to many of them, and some of them I have told that they need to clean up, and if they need help doing it, I will help and maybe find others to help. Running down another business is not my opinion of helping.
So I guess I disagree with you on many points, but to your credit, I have seen some improvements in other areas. I also want to applaud our sheriff’s department. They arrested the transient within 15 minutes of the assault.
Now the response of local businesses:
One said they were willing to even help with the cost to keep up the parking and sidewalk. One seemed to think by paying someone $20 a month to pick up a little trash, that was more than their part and seemed to think it was clean, although you can see for yourself it has not been cleaned in years.
But Starbucks picked up that ball and is running with it.
Thanks to Jill at the Starbucks on Broadway and Lemon Grove Avenue there is going to be a this coming Sunday.
I ask all of you to please participate. Come join us on Sunday, and write to the mayor and city council if you can.
Here's the info for Sunday's event:
We'll be meeting in the lobby at Starbucks at 2 p.m. June 3. Jill will have enough refreshments for everyone. It will only take two hours to clean the south side of Broadway. Come meet some of your neighbors who want Lemon Grove to succeed.
St. John's Academy will also be participating.
Come on, let's do this!
Editor's note: This Letter to the Editor was submitted by email with the writer's full name. She requested that just her first name be published.