Saying it’s time for change at City Hall, a former president of the defunct Lemon Grove Chamber of Commerce has mounted a write-in campaign for mayor.
Teresa Rosiak, a 49-year resident of Lemon Grove, stood on the street divider at Broadway and Lemon Grove Avenue handing out campaign fliers to passing motorists Thursday afternoon.
“Hi, I’m running for mayor. Can I give you a flier? Thank you so much,” Rosiak said as she handed her information to a driver.
City Clerk Susan Garcia said Rosiak filed her nomination paper Oct. 18. There has not been a write-in candidate for mayor in the time since she became City Clerk in 1999, Garcia said.
The newly minted candidate went to work getting the word out the next day. Because of her late entry into the race, her name will not appear on the ballot.
“Basically, I’m doing flyers,” Rosiak said. “I do have signs that I put around. So it’s like a grassroots campaign. I’m just doing what I can, the best I can, in the shortest amount of time I have.”
Rosiak, who works in San Diego credentialing and licensing physicians for a major hospital corporation she declined to name, said she’s jumped into the mayor’s race because she’s concerned about crime, local business, and fixing streets.
“I was told that two people were going to be running against the mayor,” Rosiak said. “And when I was told that, I didn’t pull paperwork. So when I found out she was running unopposed, I have a vested interest in Lemon Grove and I decided to run.”
Her concerns range from policing to potholes.
“Crime is huge. Business in Lemon Grove,” Rosiak said as she named her top issues. “The majority of the money that our residents spend is out of Lemon Grove. So we need to bring that money back into Lemon Grove. The streets are in desperate need of repair. There’s just so much.”
If elected mayor, she’d like to see more community involvement and proposed volunteer patrols for downtown.
“So many businesses have been robbed during broad daylight,” she said. “So we need to have more of a presence. Even if it’s people walking around, volunteers walking around to the businesses.”
To boost the local economy, Rosiak says she would work to bring in big businesses.
“We need to get business into Lemon Grove. We need more of the Home Depots. We need more of the Toyotas in Lemon Grove,” she said. “We need to bring good business into Lemon Grove, which will mean revenue for the city.”
She admits launching such a late run for the mayor's seat puts her at a disadvantage in terms of endorsements.
“Because I’m a write-in candidate and because I’m doing it at the last minute, I don’t have a lot of support. So I’m doing it myself,” she said. “I have a lot of support from, you know, my friends, and so I’ve gone to them asking for their support, but I do not have any backing of, you know, the police or anything like that.”
Rosiak says she’s been interested in local government for many years, and keeps up on the decisions that affect the city by reading staff reports and minutes. She says she attends City Council meetings, but not lately. If elected, she hopes to return the city to better days.
“I want to make Lemon Grove what it used to be. I want to make it great again. Plain and simple,” she said. “And we can if we all work together and we have good leadership. I want to thank Mayor Sessom for 16 years of service, and I hope she continues to serve if she’s not re-elected, because we do appreciate everything she’s done, but we do need change.
“It’s time for Lemon Grove to be more revitalized than what it is now. I just want to make it great again. Because there’s so many things that need to be done in Lemon Grove, and it needs more attention.”
Her opponent, Mary Sessom, is the city's first elected mayor. She has held the office for 16 years. Prior to it becoming an elected office, the mayor was appointed from among the City Council members. While seeking re-election, she has both faced challengers and run unopposed, as she did in 2008.