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La Mesa Party of the Century Will Be Pricey, Exclusive Affair on Jan. 12

Invitations were mailed to 900 people, but anyone with $100-$200 a ticket can request an invite.

Ending a year of festivities, La Mesa’s Party of the Century will be a pricey affair at $100 a ticket. Some will pay $200 for a VIP reception.

The event—a month from today at the La Mesa Community Center—serves as a key fundraiser for the Centennial Legacy Project. But it won’t be a citywide celebration.

Assistant City Manager Yvonne Garrett, secretary of the Centennial Committee, said 900 invitations were sent, with the mailing list decided by Centennial and Gala committee members. Linda Horrell and JoAnn Knutson are listed as co-chairs of the 17-member party committee.

Among those getting invites were members of the La Mesa Historical Society, who began receiving the trifold invitations at the end of November. An officer of the group said it has about 250 members.

Garrett said the maximum number of tickets being sold was 425-450, but she wasn’t concerned about the party being oversold.

Any deadline for being guaranteed a seat?

“No, it’s a matter of numbers,” Garrett said via email.

Anyone with the money can attend, however. The La Mesa Centennial website provides a form for people to request an invitation. Deadline for RSVP is Dec. 28.

But major donors and sponsors—including representatives of the Barona, Sycuan and Viejas bands ($7,000 each), Drew Ford, EDCO, Sharp Grossmont Hospital and the Glenn Napierskie family—will get complimentary tickets, according to a budget prepared in October.

The $94,640 budget [attached as PDF] suggested that 150 people would have a complimentary seat at the party, featuring a series of musical groups including The Cat·illacs, Peter Marin & Frank Unzueto Trio and the Helix Charter High School Jazz Ensemble.

“Funds contributed to the Centennial Celebration support the Legacy Project, a public art monument and time capsule to commemorate the City of La Mesa’s 100 years,” says the invitation.

Partygoers are promised that they will be “the first to view the artist’s rendering of the Legacy Monument”—although the project by the Dominguez family of La Mesa has been depicted online at La Mesa Today.

With a “fair market value of $60,” the remainder of the ticket price goes to the La Mesa Park and Recreation Foundation, said the invitation. In its 2011 tax filing [see attached], the foundation reported net assets of $516,697 and revenues for the year of $106,220.

Garrett is listed as executive director. Others on the 16-member board last year—none of whom is paid—were President Jim Miller, Vice President Dennis Wilkes, Secretary Michele Tarbet and Treasurer Ernie Linkous. The current board is led by Tarbet, CEO of Sharp Grossmont Hospital.

City Manager Dave Witt is on the board, as well as La Mesa-Spring Valley schools Superintendent Brian Marshall and school board member Penny Halgren.

Décor at the party will evoke each decade of the past century, and period costumes (or business attire) is suggested.

Deena While December 12, 2012 at 04:41 PM
So why even tell the rest of the community about this event if it's by invitation only?
Jim December 12, 2012 at 10:13 PM
How can our city leaders claim small town to its citizens and then act big city? So many options could have played out to ensure La Mesa citizens were included and valued at this significant event in our history. How many of the 900 invites will go to people outside of La Mesa?
dragonslayer December 12, 2012 at 10:38 PM
It says anyone can attend. Just pony up your money. I wouldn't pay five bucks to hob knob with all that hot air. Give me a bar stool on La Mesa Boulevard with my fellow citizens any day of the week.
Deena While December 12, 2012 at 11:53 PM
After being excluded from the invites, not too many people will want to attend. I guess it's up to us to throw our own party!!!
Jimmy Sanders December 13, 2012 at 01:50 AM
As usual, the swells and politicians hob nob, sip champagne and nosh caviar while the little folk are lucky to get a can of beer and some peanuts. Let's see the list of attendees!
Deena While December 13, 2012 at 02:46 PM
The city of El Cajon just celebrated it's 100th Birthday and they had an all day festival downtown. Everyone was invited, everything was free. Lots for the kids to do. Lots of historical booths. Celebrating the Mother Goose Parade, Cajon Speedway, Gilespie Field, the Car Shows, all sorts of stuff to do and see. I guess the folks '9 miles east' of us are a little more inclusive.
Honest La Mesan December 13, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Deena! Please feel free to move to El Cajon if you feel that would better suit your needs!
Jimmy Sanders December 13, 2012 at 05:46 PM
Ironic that you have to pay $100 to a limited and exclusive invitational event to get first view of a public work of Art.
Kevin George December 13, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Now that's a great idea Deena! I could afford the official party, but BBQ and beer in the lower parking lot as we wave to the hoi palloi driving up the hill sounds like a lot more fun
Craig Maxwell December 13, 2012 at 06:03 PM
I wonder why I wasn't invited?
Things I Learned December 13, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Think about how much the last public work of Art cost us. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4eYSpIz2FjU
Deena While December 13, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Already did HLM!
Scott H. Kidwell December 13, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Just an oversight I'm sure Craig!
Jimmy Sanders December 13, 2012 at 11:03 PM
They already have enough food servers!
Deena While December 14, 2012 at 12:54 AM
I'm in Kevin...BBQ in the baseball parking lot!
Craig Maxwell December 14, 2012 at 01:35 AM
And as close as we've become. It's so...well,...hurtful.
Craig Maxwell December 14, 2012 at 01:55 AM
Nah, that couldn't be it. I failed the food server final exam.

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