La Mesa was incorporated by 700-plus citizens on February 16, 1912, growing out of La Mesa Springs. Throughout 2011,…More the city and its La Mesa Centennial Committee will hold events as part of a yearlong countdown. The civic center on Allison Avenue, including La Mesa administrative offices, opened in 1958.
City offices now serve a population of about 57,000 residents in a nine-square-mile area between San Diego to the west, El Cajon to the east and Mt. Helix, Casa de Oro and Spring Valley to the south. Money from Proposition D bonds of 2004 provided a new police station, renovated fire station and new La Mesa branch library of the county system.
La Mesa is a general law city with a council-manager form of government. The five-member City Council, elected at large, decides policy, and the city manager carries out policy, with help from a 2010-2011 budget of $122.4 million.
As the gateway to East County, La Mesa is bisected by three major freeways and two trolley lines, and hosts five trolley stations. Most public schools are in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District or the Grossmont Union High School District. The city manages 14 public parks, and shares some roles with the large Harry Griffen Park on the El Cajon border.
La Mesa's crime rate in 2009 was touted as being the lowest since 1967. The city's general plan—a blueprint for growth and development that governs everything from traffic and housing mixes to noise, safety and historic presevation—will be revised in 2011, with citizen feedback welcomed.