La Mesa residents petition against parole office - The CW San Diego - News 8

La Mesa residents petition against parole office

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LA MESA (NEWS 8) — Proposed plans for a new state parole office in La Mesa are being met with protests by community members.

Residents say the location is too close to Grossmont High School and that it will threaten their neighborhood's safety.

"This is on a residential street, a street where there are people's homes right next to it,” said Mt. Helix resident Stephanie Boethin.

Mt. Helix residents are raising safety concerns about the possibility of a new parole office in La Mesa on Grossmont Summit Drive near schools.

"I pay enough taxes to say this facility is not correct to be in this location,” Boethin said. “There is no reason to put the children in the high school, the middle school, the elementary schools right - next to all the local transportation - at harm because those same streets are what the parolees will be walking.”

The California Department of Corrections is giving the City of La Mesa 60 days to respond to their notice.

A statement from the City of La Mesa city manager reads, in part:

Staff and the city's attorney are reviewing and considering all of the options related to this potential lease agreement and will be responding to this notification in a timely fashion once our review is complete.

"[I] got no notice that anything would be coming here,” said Mt. Helix resident Kris Elig.

Upset mt. Helix residents say they would never have known had a concerned resident not gotten wind of the letter and sent it to them.

"This is a problem of local versus state government not being transparent with the people that live in their neighborhoods,” said Mt. Helix resident Daniel Boethin.

The Boethins put together a point-by-point presentation of all the issues they say should be considered with the proposal of a parole office in the area - from residential zoning to schools’ proximity.

“My house isn't fenced,” said Stephanie Boethin. “Do I want them to see my daughter, my toddler, playing in the yard?”

They created a petition with close to 500 signatures.

Another concern for neighbors, they say, is parking. With about 65 staff members expected to be in this building, there are only about 45 parking spots on site, so residents wonder where the parolees park.

“We're not trying to profile or say these people do or don't belong. What we're really looking at is how do we continue to protect and maintain or even increase the security and safety in our neighborhood?” said Daniel Boethin.

The property owner Mark Robak said via text message, he would direct all comments to the Department of Corrections and had no comment.

The California Department of Corrections has a number for the public to call with their concerns: 916-445-4950. Callers should ask for the office of external affairs.

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