Shannon O'Dunn and husband Charles G. 'Mike' Bemis
My goal as a councilmember is to preserve La Mesa's star quality, her wonderful natural characteristics, her hand-stitched quilt of unique neighborhoods, her 19th century downtown village and 21st century healthcare and transit facilities, her appeal, and her bank account.
The world is changing around us, and that change will impact us. Some of us, like my son Cullen, were born in La Mesa, others moved here, and we stay here because we like our town the way it is, and we want to maintain her values. La Mesa has gotten it right. The challenge, of course, will be to keep it that way.
Wearing her Dean's hard hat, Shannon inspects construction progress on the Digital Arts Building at Grossmont College
My retired Air Force father moved us to La Mesa from Los Angeles in 1951 and I attended Murray Manor School. Not long after we became La Mesans, I discovered my life's calling on a hillside next to my parents' house at Jackson and El Paso, where I found a piece of sandstone, and experienced that ‘aha’ moment that led to a Bachelor of Arts in Geology in 1965 from San Diego State University, and a Master's in Geology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. I taught Geology at Grossmont College from 1971-86, and again from 1993-2000.
Mike Bemis and I were married at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in San Carlos, moved to Fletcher Hills to raise our family in 1980, and have lived on Poppy Street in La Mesa since 1990. Our children, Cullen and Carling, went to Northmont Elementary and Grossmont High. I served as Director of Grants and Contract Instruction for the College District from 1986-93. From 2000-2005, I was Dean of Grossmont College's Communication and Fine Arts Division, managing almost 200 instructors and classified employees, and a $4.5 million annual budget.
Shannon checks out a restored 1969 split-roof Stingray Corvette, showcased on a run with the Corvette Owners Club of San Diego
After retiring in 2005 as Dean Emeritus, I served on the College District Citizen's Bond Oversight Committee for Prop R. I am active in the La Mesa Lions Club, the La Mesa Village Merchants Association, and as the City of La Mesa's representative to the Mission Trails Regional Park Citizen's Advisory Committee, where for 10 years I volunteered as Geology Trainer for the Mission Trails Regional Park Trail Guide Program. I have been a major fundraiser and donor to the La Mesa Flag Day Parade, and humbly served as Grand Marshal in 2009.
As a La Mesa businesswoman and retailer since 2009, I have a new view of our city and its place among the 17 other municipalities in San Diego County, including an appreciation of the folks who live in our city, and the perspectives they have on our city and our future.
Download Shannon's Curriculum Vitae (CV) This is a PDF document..