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La Mesa is a city in Southern California, located 9 miles east of Downtown San Diego in San Diego County. Its civic motto is "the Jewel of the Hills." La Mesa in Spanish means "the table", or alternately "the plateau", relating to its geography. La Mesa was part of a larger tract, Mission San Diego de Alcalá, and was used by Spanish Missionaries. La Mesa was founded in 1869 and The City of La Mesa was incorporated on February 16, 1912, under the general laws of the state of California. As such, it does not have a city charter but operates under the laws of the state of California in all respects not specifically covered by any city ordinance. Its official flower is the bougainvillea.
The median income for a household in the city was $41,693, and the median income for a family was $50,398. Males had a median income of $37,215 versus $30,413 for females. The per capita income for the city was $22,372. About 5.2% of families and 9.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 10.4% of those under age 18 and 6.2% of those age 65 or over.