At our May Meeting: Dunkin’ Hunter: Replacing a Corrupt Congressman

Join us at our May 2 meeting, where we’ll talk about beating Duncan Hunter Jr., San Diego’s embattled 50th Congressional District representative, who comes with a host of ethical and financial irregularities. Hunter is up for re-election this year, and the club is backing a strong Democratic contender – La Mesa native Ammar Campa-Najjar, who’s one of our speakers at the meeting.

Our other speaker is Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, a Democratic Party activist who became famous in the 1960s and 70s as led singer for the oldies group Sha Na Na.

Hunter’s troubles started in 2016 when the Federal Election Commission (FEC) began examining his use of campaign funds for personal expenses such as video games, flying a rabbit on a plane, tuition, family vacations and much more.

Although Hunter has reviewed his campaign spending and reimbursed his treasury more than $60,000 in expenses he identified as “personal, mistaken or undocumented,” he is currently under a Department of Justice criminal investigation for alleged campaign finance violations.


Ammar Campa-Najjar

Campa-Najjar left La Mesa as a boy, along with his family, for the Gaza Strip in 1998. When war made it unsafe to stay, he returned with his mother and brother to San Diego. After graduating from San Diego State University with dual bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and psychology, Campa-Najjar joined President Obama’s reelection campaign as Deputy Regional Field Director, overseeing Southern California’s grassroots operations from a headquarters in San Diego. During the Obama Administration he served in the Labor Department’s Office of Public Affairs for the Employment and Training Administration.He is a staunch advocate for unions and small businesses owned by minorities, women, immigrants and veterans. Citing bipartisan support for the Registered Apprenticeship job training initiative, Campa-Najjar has called on the Trump administration to expand and strengthen the program. His platform also includes Medicare for All, passing a clean Dream Act, investing in renewable energy, and overturning Citizens United.

Find more information about Campa-Najjar’s campaign can be found at

bauman pic2-2

Jon “Bowzer”Bauman

Bauman, our other speaker, is the uncle of Eric Bauman, the chairman of the California Democratic Party.

Born in Brooklyn, Bauman started attending The Juilliard School at age 12 and graduated magna cum laude from Columbia College in New York.

In 1969, he partnered with several Columbia classmates to create Sha Na Na. They sang at Woodstock, and later starred on a syndicated television variety series with the same name. Bauman’s character, “Bowzer,” was a blustery, dimwitted skinny-armed greaser in a muscle shirt.

In real life, Bauman is no dope; he campaigns regularly for Democrats in special elections and endorsed Barack Obama for President in 2008. He has also worked as a spokesman for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and recorded wake-up calls for employees of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Bauman is co-founder of the group Senior Votes Count, a political action committee designed to elect leaders to protect and advance the rights of older Americans.

In the 2016 presidential election, Bauman endorsed Hillary Clinton and campaigned across the country.

He is currently President of Social Security Works PAC, a national organization working to elect candidates who support protecting and expanding Social Security benefits. Bauman lives in Los Angeles with his wife Mary.

Find out about Bauman’s performing career at Bowzer’s Rock N’ Roll Party.

Join us Wednesday, May 2 at 6:30 pm for social time, 7 pm for programming, at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive in La Mesa.



Russia probe, human trafficking to highlight April 4 meeting


By Yahairah Aristy and Jeff Benesch | La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club

A great, informative meeting is planned for members and guests of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club (LMFDC) on Wednesday, April 4. Because of the full program that evening, we’ll be opening the doors a half-hour earlier than normal at 6 p.m. and beginning our meeting at 6:45 p.m.

Regular viewers of MSNBC will know former U.S. attorney and current professor of political science at UCSD, Harry Litman, from his frequent appearances as an expert commentator on the Trump White House, and the Mueller investigation into financial shenanigans and pre-election and post-inauguration irregularities among West Wing comrades. Litman will spend his time with us diving into the deep details of the dysfunctional Trump administration and the mixing of family businesses and executive authority.

Are there impeachable crimes being committed? Did Russian interference alter the outcome of the election? Will Robert Mueller divulge more discovery of indictable offenses? Litman will attempt to bring us up to date on all the latest information from this ever-changing Washington imbroglio.

We will follow the Litman address with a panel exploring an explosive local and national issue that affects every community around us: human trafficking. What used to be called “the world’s oldest profession” is now a local $800 million criminal enterprise run by well-organized international gangs that exploit and enslave over 8,000 of the most vulnerable populations among us.

In San Diego alone, there are over 100 gangs involved in the commercial exploitation of people. Human trafficking is a tragedy that affects immigrant communities, the poor, the young and the most susceptible, and involves millions of dollars in illicit monies paid to cartels and crime syndicates that have become adept at recruiting and transporting “assets,” hiding the money, and abusing and manipulating the innocent. We’ll learn from experts how the victims of this formerly “victimless” crime are rescued and treated, how johns are processed in a forgiving legal system, and how this criminal enterprise is fought in the legal and justice system, here and elsewhere.

The human trafficking panel will include the chair of the County Commission on the Status of Women and Children, Maria McEneany. Joining McEarney will be Jamie Quient, president and managing attorney of Free to Thrive, a nonprofit organization that empowers survivors of human trafficking.

Also joining the panel will be our endorsed candidate for District Attorney, long-time Public Defender Genevieve Jones-Wright. Jones-Wright has made it her mission to not only bring justice to the victims of human trafficking, but to break the cycle of crime by working collaboratively and innovatively with public safety entities to intervene early and prevent criminal enterprises from exploiting and hurting our most vulnerable communities.

Several other key figures in the battle against the blight of human trafficking will also be on the panel.

The La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club meets the first Wednesday of every month at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, just north of University Avenue in La Mesa.

Meetings are open to all members and guests, and are free, but we encourage all attendees to support our candidates and programs by joining the club for as little as $30 per year. For more information, visit

— Yahairah Aristy is president and Jeff Benesch is vice president of programming of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club. Reach them at

Being Had.

Larry Howe is the Past President who now lives in Italy with his wife Arlene.

Larry Howe, LMFDC Past President


As a nation, we are being confronted with the unthinkable reality that a foreign power intentionally injected influence into an election for the Office of the President of the United States. Compounding that issue is the concern as to whether the candidate who won that election knowingly collaborated with a foreign power in that effort or whether that candidate became an unwitting beneficiary.

A third more complex and realistic probability is that Donald Trump became compromised through the exploitation of his own entrepreneurial greed in his business dealings with that foreign power. Then comes the issue of what the result of that compromise might have entailed. The resolution of these critical issues is made more difficult by the seeming unwillingness and incapacity of the Trump enterprise to entertain serious reflection on the consequences of their actions. Self-aggrandizement appears to be the only overarching consideration they can consider.

A proposition could be made that the easiest people to con are greedy opportunists. The exploitation of an opponent’s own weaknesses for use against them is a well-established strategy.  It is beginning to look like the Russians have a gift of a predatory instinct that enables them to spot easy marks to prey upon. And the Russians have used it well against the United States in the undermining of the political process.

            But to what end? In a strategic contest between major world powers, any success in creating instability within the governing structure of a potential adversary works to the benefit of the orchestrator of the instability.  It would be a mistake to underestimate the residual animosity that exists within Russia over the perceived role of the U.S. in encouraging the fall of the Soviet form of government. The U.S. arming and encouraging the Afghani resistance brought the already existing deficits of the Soviet government into sharper focus. And then following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the heavy-handed approach to Russian economic reform taken by the U.S. administration under Ronald Reagan was taken as an attempt to further weaken Russia and ensure U.S. dominance. That was followed by a significant enlargement of NATO incorporating former countries of the Warsaw Pact which Russia saw as a buffer between it and a hostile west. To understand this larger dynamic is to better understand the underlying lingering animosity that orchestrates the Russian well played strategy against the interests of the U.S.

            Emerging evidence demonstrates the carefully executed strategy employed by the Russians to undermine the confidence of the American population in their governmental processes.  To be sure, the Russians recognized the reality that the American political process had already sown the seeds of its own collapse.  The fomenting of extreme political division changed politics from an arena for open debate and collaboration toward the best solutions for the common good to a ‘zero sum – winner takes all’ power contest.  Extremism in various quarters has become the dominant reality in American politics over the past thirty to forty years. And those divisions have only fed on each other resulting in the virtual breakdown of informed, collaborative political dialogue.

            The Russians did not initiate that process in America, we did it to ourselves. But that breakdown in effective political process created the tempting opportunity for the injection of ‘active measures’ to exacerbate the growing crisis of governance in the U.S.

            The growing extremism within the Republican Party fed on the manipulation of legitimate discontent and disappointment of large segments of the U.S. population. Many Americans recognized their government was complicit in the conditions that permitted big money interests to take unreasonable speculative risks and to engineer a cornucopia of bizarre mechanisms to lure the unsuspecting into bogus ‘get-rich-quick schemes’ (i.e. The Derivatives Market).  The outcome was world-wide economic disruption and the loss of significant life savings by so many of us. Added to that, was the further failure of the government to take meaningful, corrective action. Small wonder there is a rampant level of cynicism toward government in the U.S.

            Populism is one of the easiest movements to coopt. The successful demagogue is the one who listens to the anxieties in the population and plays them back to the masses in seeming affirmation and personal identification with their distress. In conditions like that, most people want to feel listened to, “Thank you for understanding I am pissed-off!” The aggrieved are in an elevated emotional state and have neither the inclination nor are they necessarily equipped to evaluate complex issues of economic structural reform necessary to correct the problems. Too often, affirmation of distress is sufficient to get a following. Sound bites, slogans and political stunts carry the day.

            The Republican Presidential Primary illustrated a mad rush to court the Populism sentiment with candidates each trying to appear more ‘anti-establishment’ than the next. Enter Donald Trump. This seventy-year old entrepreneur has existed by sniffing out opportunities to be exploited for his own personal gain. He instinctively gravitates toward market dynamics built on exposure.  Publicity is the meat of entrepreneurial opportunity. Looking for exposure, why not a presidential campaign stage?

            If you were looking for someone to back to be President of the United States who would be the least effective person to have in office and further promote discontent with democracy, from that field, who would you have chosen?  If you wanted to undermine the candidacy of the person with the best experience and best insights into your self-serving objectives, which of the potential candidates would you have wished to undermine?

            It remains to be seen and may never be sufficiently clear the extent to which the Trump campaign knowingly collaborated with Russian efforts to undermine the 2016 presidential election process. Elements of the Trump entourage were courted and enticed into what appeared to be promising commercial opportunities. The reality that they could be compromised in a political context would first have be recognized if they were even open to recognizing it.  A vulnerability of an entrepreneur can be the delusion you are conning the other party more effectively than they are conning you.  Trump was good at it in dealing with contractors working on his properties but dealing with the Russian state apparatus might have injected him into a contest even beyond his guile.

            There is an impression Donald Trump has embedded into our awareness that he is a man seemingly incapable of dealing with his own fallibility.  His inability to control his emotional reflexes and impulses is an extremely worrisome component in a president’s emotional profile. The responsibilities of the President of the United States require a person of calm disposition ready to see world affairs as extremely complex and nuanced. The individual must be able to control impetuosity and must gather around them people with broad depth and perspective who are encouraged to speak truth rather than acting as sycophants.

            Donald Trump is immersed in a swamp of his own creation and is flailing about using elements of the government to attempt to cover and justify his serious errors in judgement revealed in his impetuous pronouncements.   In a recent case in point, whether wittingly or not, to further his own ends he has deliberately weakened the credibility the investigation being conducted by the House Intelligence Committee. By compromising Committee Chair, Devin Nunes, he has cast doubt on the capability of the House of Representatives to impartially protect the interests of the American people.  The Russians could not have done a better job of undermining faith in elements of American democracy.

            On its face, in accomplishing that outcome, Donald Trump has furthered Russian interests. To give him the benefit of doubt, it is likely his own personality deficits are more responsible for that outcome than any orchestration by a hands-on Russian effort.

            And so, it appears in the entire Trump debacle, the personality deficits of Donald Trump have been ready made to be manipulated by a foreign power to their benefit.  Cynicism is growing and distrust of American core governmental functions is being eroded on an almost daily basis.

            The resolution of this crisis is going to require the emergence of true statesmanship coming from some other quarter than the Office of the President. Donald Trump has demonstrated he lacks the depth of personal character to see beyond his own personal aggrandizement to the larger interests of the United States.  The likelihood of his resigning is a fantasy.  His potential removal by Congressional action will be drawn out and messy.  We are in for a very uncertain future in a very complex world. The Russians could not be more satisfied with their efforts in contributing to this outcome.

            We have all been had.  We brought a lot of this on ourselves. Concentrations of financial power in the U.S. were part of the manipulative process that helped con many in the electorate. Narrow political opportunists who have sold out to those concentrations of financial power continue to do their bidding. We offered the Russians a wide-open opportunity to exploit our weaknesses and they took it.

            If there was ever a time to break down political division and have voices of collaborative moderation take charge, it is now.  God protect and defend the United States of America from what we have done to ourselves!


Tom Steyer, and Executive Director Diane Takvorian of the Environmental Health Coalition.


Local Dem Club to Host April Appearance

Longtime Collaborator Diane Takvorian to Lead Off


Standing room only is expected for the Wednesday, April 5th meeting of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club. Keynote speakers will be leading renewable energy advocate Tom Steyer, and Executive Director Diane Takvorian of the Environmental Health Coalition.


In just 45 days, the new administration under Donald Trump has wreaked havoc on the environmental advances made under the previous administration. We’ve seen executive orders weakening the Clean Water Act, allowing mining operations to pollute drinking water sources with fewer regulations and oversight. The Keystone Pipeline has been given new life and will now transport dirty oil from Canadian tar sands to American ports. The inevitable catastrophic pipeline breaks will foul drinking water in the upper plains states for generations. And Exxon Mobile, recent home of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, has been given the green light to expand operations worth billions of dollars in drilling and refining of oil and gas in the fragile ecosystem along the Gulf Coast, still recovering from the effects of the Deepwater Horizon disaster and the devastating hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We have yet to see any commitment to renewable energy development that would alter our horrific future of global warming and continued dependency on fossil fuels.

The April 5th meeting of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will continue our Resist Series with the appearance of California’s best known environmentalist, Tom Steyer.

Steyer is a business leader and philanthropist who believes we have a moral responsibility to give back and help ensure that every family shares the benefits of economic opportunity, education, and a healthy climate.


In 2010, Tom and his wife, Kat Taylor, pledged to contribute most of their wealth to charitable causes during their lifetimes. That same year, Tom worked to defeat Proposition 23, an attempt by the oil industry to roll back California’s historic plan to reduce pollution and address climate change.


Tom founded a successful California business, which he left to work full-time on non-profit and advocacy efforts. He now serves as President of NextGen Climate, an organization he founded in 2013 to prevent climate disaster and promote prosperity for all Americans. Tom also served as co-chair of Save Lives California, the coalition to prevent teen smoking and fund cancer research.


Tom’s dedication to public service is greatly inspired by his wife, Kat, the co-CEO of Beneficial State Bank in Oakland. They founded this nonprofit community bank in 2007 to provide loans to people and small businesses shut out by the traditional banking system. Unlike most banks, by statute Beneficial State Bank invests any profits back into the community. Tom and Kat live in San Francisco and have four children.

Tom will be introduced by his friend and long time collaborator, Diane Takvorian. Takvorian has led the struggle for social and environmental justice for over 30 years. She is Executive Director and co-founder of Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), an environmental justice organization based in the San Diego/Tijuana region. Founded in 1980, EHC works to protect public health and the environment threatened by toxic pollution through efforts that create a just society.


In 2010 Tom Steyer and NextGen Climate worked with EHC and the California Environmental Justice Alliance to defeat Proposition 23 – the oil company effort to repeal AB 32 – California’s Global Warming law.   In 2012, they worked together to pass Prop 39 when California voters stood up to corporate interests and closed a tax loophole previously available to large energy companies. EHC targeted precincts voted to pass Prop 39 by 74%. To date, Proposition 39 has put nearly a billion dollars into California schools and clean energy projects, saving millions of dollars in annual energy costs.


EHC’s community organizing and policy advocacy work with disenfranchised communities have eliminated many health risks and enabled thousands of residents to develop into community leaders. Diane has served on international, national, state, and regional advisory boards. In 2016 California Assembly Speaker appointed Takvorian to the California Air Resources Board. In 2009, President Obama appointed her to the Joint Public Advisory Committee for the Commission for Environmental Cooperation. In 2008 Diane received the James Irvine Foundation Leadership Award for her “creative and inspirational leadership benefiting the people of California.” Takvorian is also a cofounder of the California Environmental Justice Alliance. Diane holds a Master’s degree in Social Work with an emphasis on public policy and community organizing.


The La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club meets the first Wednesday of each month. While we welcome all members and guests to our meetings and events, for this special event, we are asking all attendees to donate $10.00 at the door to offset costs of the program.   Join LMFDC for as little as $30 a year and become involved. We serve the communities of La Mesa, San Carlos, Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, the College Area, Mt. Helix, Santee, Casa de Oro, and other nearby East County communities. We meet at the very nice La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., just off University Ave. in La Mesa. Social time begins at 6:30 PM with the meeting and program kicking off at 7 PM. We adjourn at 8:30-ish. Follow us on Facebook, and check out our website for updates and news at


Linda Armacost, President

Jeff Benesch, VP Programming

Environmental Heroes Headline Dems Feb Meeting

Environmental Heroes Headline Dems Feb Meeting

Nicole Capretz, Georgette Gomez Featured

Saving our Planet is Theme



On Wednesday, February 1st, ten days into the president Trump era, local Democrats will hear an all star forum discuss the steps we need to take to resist the attack on our climate goals, our clean air and water, and our ongoing transformation to renewable energy sources. Who best to create opportunities and action plans than the Executive Director of the Climate Action Campaign, Nicole Capretz? Or the newly elected San Diego City Councilperson from District 9, Georgette Gomez? Or the Executive Director of San Diego Coastkeeper, Matt O’Malley? Masada Disenhouse of will also join our panel, as will Brian Elliott of the Sierra Club. And our moderator will be none other than our friend, and former Exec. Chair of the San Diego Sierra Club, Davin Widgerow.


Why our urgency to sound the alarm and expose and resist what is likely to be in store for the next 4 years in the environmental community?


Per the Guardian: “Trump has assembled a transition team in which at least nine senior members deny basic scientific understanding that the planet is warming due to the burning of carbon and other human activity. These include the transition heads of all the key agencies responsible for either monitoring or dealing with climate change. None of these transition heads have any background in climate science.”


Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency is noted climate change denier Scott Pruitt. And Trump is expected to name Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers to head the Interior Department. She is noteworthy for claiming that Al Gore “deserves an ‘F’ in science.” And let’s not forget that Trump’s choice for Secretary of State is none other than the head of the largest oil company in the world, Rex Tillerson. It’s plain to see that our new President has little regard for ending our dependency on oil, coal, tar sands, and other fossil fuel sources.


La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club serves the communities of Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, San Carlos, the College Area, La Mesa, Mt. Helix, Casa de Oro, Santee and other nearby East County locales. At nearly 300 members, it is one of the largest and most active chartered Democratic Clubs in San Diego County. We meet on the first Wednesday of each month at the spacious La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., just North of University Ave. in La Mesa. Our meetings start with a social ½ hour at 6:30 PM with snacks, desserts and beverages supplied by club members, and then the business meeting and program begins at 7 PM. All members and guests are welcomed!


Our February meeting is the second in our series we are calling Write, Advocate and Resist, 48 months of learning to cope and overcome the already dire Trump administration. Trump’s inauguration coincided with the lowest approval ratings of any modern incoming president. His shocking appointments to executive positions on his staff and in his Cabinet are filled with unqualified, inexperienced and self-serving individuals who have little in common with the people or departments they are intending to lead, a veritable who’s who of reactionary and far right thinkers beholden to the fossil fuel industry and climate change deniers.



On the other hand, our Environmental Heroes are long time advocates and scholars, the best and brightest in their fields.   Nicole Capretz is an environmental attorney with 20 years of as an energy and climate policy advisor for local governments and the nonprofit sector. Nicole was the primary author of the City of San Diego’s groundbreaking, legally binding 100% clean energy Climate Action Plan adopted in late 2015. She now serves on the San Diego’s Climate Action Plan Implementation Working Group, as well as the City of Solana Beach’s Climate Action Commission.


Nicole advocates for local and state renewable energy legislation, participates in state administrative proceedings, serves as an expert witness in state policy hearings and is a regular speaker at energy and climate conferences and hearings. Nicole’s duties as Executive Director of CAC include overall strategic and operational responsibility for the organization’s staff, programs, expansion and execution of its mission.


Previously, Nicole served as the Chair of San Diego’s Economic and Environmental Sustainability Task Force for three years while being the Associate Director for Green Energy/Green Jobs at Environmental Health Coalition, an environmental justice organization in National City, California. She has also worked as a policy advisor for the San Diego City Council.


Nicole’s work on San Diego’s Climate Action Plan earned her numerous accolades among which are:


New York Times Top 10 Californians of the Year (2016)

“Voice of the Year” – Voice of San Diego (2015, 2016)

“Best People of San Diego” – San Diego CityBeat (2016)

“Bike Advocate of the Year” – San Diego County Bike Coalition (2016)

“Leadership Award” – San Diego County Democratic Party (2016)

Finalist for San Diego Magazine’s 2016 San Diego Woman of the Year (2016)

Finalist for San Diego Business Journal’s 2016 “Women Who Mean Business” Awards (2016)


Newly elected City Council Representative for San Diego’s District 9, Georgette Gomez, has some serious environmental chops herself. Gomez, a San Diego State alumna, is a native of Barrio Logan and a current resident of City Heights. She was associate director of Toxic Free Neighborhoods for the Environmental Health Coalition, and is well-known as a community organizer who has fought for a number of environmental issues. Georgette was a very impressive participant on our candidates’ forum at the beginning of 2015, and received the endorsements of the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, Todd Gloria and David Alvarez among others for her run to replace Marti Emerald. She has spoken out vociferously against downtown special interests. Her campaign revolved around her status as a City Hall outsider anxious to shake up the status quo. She will especially focus on repairing District 9 infrastructure including city streets and lights, address homelessness, create more affordable housing options and increase public safety.


Matt O’Malley is the Executive Director of San Diego Coastkeeper. Matt joined Coastkeeper in January of 2014 as Legal and Policy Director, where he leads the advocacy work of the organization and protects the water bodies of San Diego County by utilizing local, state, and national laws and regulations, and through community engagement. Having represented environmental groups in the federal, state, and local arenas, Matt has experience in areas such as the Clean Water Act and NPDES permits, land use and growth management laws, CEQA, the Endangered Species Act, groundwater, soils, and sediment remediation, and environmental justice, to name a few. Matt currently serves as Legal Committee Chair and Board Member of the California Coastkeeper Alliance, and he is actively licensed to practice law in California, Florida, and Washington State.


Masada Disenhouse is a repeat visitor to LMFDC and founder of, a very active climate action advocacy group. is an international environmental organization encouraging citizens to action with the belief that publicizing the increasing levels of carbon dioxide will pressure world leaders to address climate change and to reduce levels from 400 parts per million to 350 parts per million. It was founded by author Bill McKibben with the goal of building a global grassroots movement to raise awareness about human-driven climate change, to confront climate change denial, and to cut emissions of carbon dioxide in order to slow the rate of global warming. takes its name from the research of Goddard Institute for Space Studies scientist James E. Hansen, who posited in a 2007 paper that 350 parts-per-million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere is a safe upper limit to avoid a climate tipping point.


Brian Elliott works locally for Congressman Scott Peters but also chairs the Political Committee for the local chapter of the Sierra Club. Brian’s start in San Diego Democratic politics came while he worked for the California Democratic Party as the environmental organizer on Congressman Peters’ 2014 re-election effort. He quickly went on to utilize his environmental expertise to advocate for local clean energy as the campaign organizer for Climate Action Campaign, and is now serving in Peters’ district office. Since arriving in San Diego, Brian has been an active member with Sierra Club and the greater environmental community as a volunteer and professionally, focusing on energy, water and climate policy matters.


Moderator Davin Widgerow is an environmental lawyer whose work is focused on toxic contamination remediation. He earned his BA (Political Science) from Berkeley, and his JD from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Davin was admitted to the California Bar in 2011. He began his law career interning for a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice and advocating for disabled individuals. Until recently, Davin headed the Steering Committee for Sierra Club San Diego, which is tasked with coordinating Club projects, activities, finances, and administration. He also served as Chair of the Political Committee, which engages political candidates and environmental activists to further Sierra Club’s conservation efforts.


La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club is in the midst of our 2017 membership drive. For as little as $30 per year, members enjoy 12 general meetings featuring outstanding speakers and programs, our monthly newsletter, weekly updates of news you can use, special events like the La Mesa Flag Day parade, Octoberfest, and our Party in the Park, and priceless camaraderie with fellow progressives and activists. Join us now to learn more about the current threats to our Democracy and the Future of our Planet. Be sure to visit our website at or friend us on our Facebook page.


Linda Armacost, President

Jeff Benesch, VP Programming

Marty Block to Be Honored at LMFDC


Susan Davis, Chris Ward to Speak

GOTV Effort Stressed In Lead-up to Election


At our next meeting, just 6 days before the momentous 2016 Presidential Election, the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will honor Senator Marty Block as he faces his last couple months before leaving office. Our meeting will take place on Wednesday night, November 2nd, at 7 PM at the beautiful La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., just North of University Ave. in La Mesa.

   marty block

Block, a long time member and frequent guest at LMFDC, steps down after many years of service as Assemblyman and State Senator representing La Mesa and much of the City of San Diego. Senator Block was elected to the California State Assembly in 2008 where he represented the 78th Assembly District until his election to the Senate. He served as chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee for three years.

Marty previously served for 8 years as a member of the San Diego County Board of Education and then served 8 years as President of the San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees. During that period he also served as a San Diego Superior Court Judge pro Tem, Statewide President of the California County Boards of Education, and President of the San Diego Chapter of the American Jewish Committee.

Senator Block served as a dean, professor, and legal advisor at San Diego State University for 26 years. While at SDSU he also served as the Founding Chair and Director of the National Higher Education Law and Policy Institute. Block received outstanding faculty awards five times and was given the university’s Distinguished Service Award upon his retirement.

In Sacramento, many think his crowning achievement is SB850. This game-changing legislation for higher education will allow a number of community college districts across the state to develop 4-year degree programs, increasing access for quality higher education in areas that have a demonstrated workforce need. Marty Block’s long career as a lawyer, teacher, dean, trustee, magistrate and legislator is an incomparable model of altruism and devotion to public and community service.

We’ll have another star studded group to talk both about Senator Block and give us a little insight as to what we can expect in the election 6 days following.


Congressperson Susan Davis will headline the group and much of her background mirrors that of Senator Block. She represents California’s 53rd Congressional District and therefore most of our membership. Her interest in public affairs and service grew out of her experiences as a social worker, parent, youth mentor, and military spouse. Like Block, she has a background in education and her focus on educational issues at all levels is noteworthy.

Prior to Congress, Susan served in the California State Assembly (1994-2000). She served three terms and focused on what would become her signature issues – education, health care, and consumer protection. She chaired the Committee on Consumer Protection, Government Efficiency, and Economic Development. In the House, as she has throughout her public service, Susan has approached legislating as a bipartisan consensus builder achieving legislative successes in education, military families and veterans support and health care.

In addition to her state legislative experience, Susan brought to Congress nine years of experience as a member of the San Diego Unified Board of Education (1983-1992). As a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Susan has played a key role in bringing reforms and improvements to primary, secondary and higher education. She wrote the law to provide flexibility to college students receiving work-study funds during natural disasters such as the recent fires in Southern California.   In addition, she made work-study funds available to college students who work to educate the community in civic education and disaster preparedness.


3rd District City Councilperson elect Chris Ward is well suited to talk about Marty, as well as give his own keen insight to election day.   Chris serves as the Chief of Staff to Senator Block, representing the communities of the Third City Council District and most of the City of San Diego. In this capacity, Chris is strongly committed to excellence in constituent services, facilitating public participation in policymaking, and organizing state and local resources to make our neighborhoods a better place to live.   In the June primary, as candidate Ward, Chris won the 3rd District seat outright and will take his place on the San Diego City Council in January.

Previously, Chris was an environmental planner at the firm EDAW, working with local government to develop land use plans and conduct environmental review to help create inclusive, community-based solutions to neighborhood challenges and organize strategies to achieve long-term goals. Chris will draw from these experiences to help the city implement smarter visions for our urban neighborhoods. Before dedicating a career to public service, Chris worked as a researcher at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at UCSD on the front lines of San Diego’s burgeoning biotech sector and contributed firsthand to the critical value these innovators offer.


Club friend and previous guest analyst, Rich Grosch, is also well positioned to talk about both the election and his good friend and colleague, Marty Block. Not only is Rich the former District Director for Marty when he was representing the 78th Assembly District, Mr. Grosch’s career track, like Marty’s, is forged in the educational community. Rich currently serves on the San Diego Community College Board of Trustees having been elected to the position for 4 terms beginning in 2002. For 5 years, he served as President of that Board, and now serves as Executive Vice President.

Over the years of his wonderful career, he’s been a teacher, University Alumni Director, City Council Representative, school administrator, and community planner. He’s headed the OB Community Development Corporation and was key in the OB Community Plan, thus keeping Ocean Beach from wanton overbuilding and commercialization. He’s also a business owner and proprietor of the Ocean Beach Hotel.   Rich is a true politico and should have an informed and accurate assessment of the upcoming election.


Board Member Colin Parent is in the homestretch of his vigorous campaign for La Mesa City Council and will be urging all members and guests to participate in 6 more days of Get Out The Vote efforts by walking precincts and making calls from our local campaign office. Parent is Policy Counsel for Circulate San Diego, a non-profit advocacy group that promotes better transportation and living choices for more vibrant local communities. Colin is, by far, the most informed and progressive of the three candidates running for City Council.

The La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club represents the communities of San Carlos, Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, College Area, La Mesa, Mt. Helix, Santee, Casa de Oro, and other nearby East County communities. Our meetings start with a social ½ hour at 6:30 PM with snacks, desserts and beverages supplied by club members. All members and guests are welcomed. Watch for event updates on our website: or follow us on Facebook.

Linda Armacost, President

Jeff Benesch, VP Programming

Congressman Scott Peters, and Assemblyperson Lorena Gonzalez headline the panel

scott-peters      lorena-gonzalez

Election Series Continues with Immigration Panel

“Building Bridges, Not Barriers”


After two straight packed houses for our STARK CONTRASTS meetings examining the differences this election year between the Democratic Candidates and their republican counterparts, La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club turns again to Star Power to serve on our panel of experts. Congressman Scott Peters, and Assemblyperson Lorena Gonzalez headline the panel which will also feature ACLU immigration experts and a member of the SDSU Chicana/Chicano Studies department.


Just as our last panel gave us a variety of opinions and experiences in the area of gender politics and the parties’ respective platforms, this October 5th panel will focus on Trump’s Build-a-Wall agenda and the local politicos who support him, in contrast to the Democrat’s long standing call for a compassionate immigration policy that recognizes the contributions and rights of the tens of thousands of immigrant families that call San Diego, Southern California, and nearly all of America, home.


La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club meets the first Wednesday of every month at the beautiful La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., just North of University Avenue. We represent the communities of San Carlos, Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, the College Area, La Mesa, Mt. Helix, Santee, Casa de Oro, and other close by East County enclaves. Our meetings start with a ½ hour social time at 6:30 PM with snacks, desserts and beverages, followed by our 90 minute program at 7 PM. We welcome all fellow progressives and forward thinkers to attend and participate in our meetings. ½ price memberships are available for the rest of the year.


Congressman Scott Peters serves California’s 52nd Congressional District, which includes the cities of Coronado, Poway and most of northern San Diego. First elected in 2012, he currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee & the House Judiciary Committee. He formerly served on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

Scott Peters is a civic leader who has made improving the quality of life in San Diego his life’s work. After a 15-year career as an environmental lawyer, Scott was elected to the San Diego City Council, where he later became the City’s first City Council President. On the Council, Scott helped lead the $2 billion redevelopment of downtown San Diego, the cleanup of the city’s beaches and bays, and the completion of a number of major infrastructure projects. He also pursued greater accountability and efficiency in government through the creation of a new Council/Mayor form of government with an independent budget review function.

In 2001, the governor appointed Scott to the Commission on Tax Policy in the New Economy, and in 2002, the Speaker of the Assembly appointed Scott to the California Coastal Commission.

Scott also later served as chairman of the San Diego Unified Port District – a major economic engine that supports over 40,000 high-skill, high-wage jobs for San Diegans, with $3.3 billion in direct regional economic impact.

Scott earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and worked as an economist for the United States Environmental Protection Agency before attending New York University School of Law. He and his wife of 29 years reside in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California, where they raised their son and daughter.

Lorena Gonzalez is the daughter of an immigrant farmworker and a nurse. She attended public schools in San Diego County before earning a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, a master’s degree from Georgetown University, and a Juris Doctor from UCLA School of Law.

Gonzalez served as Senior Adviser to former California Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, as well as appointee to the California State Lands Commission and alternate on the California Coastal Commission. A community organizer and activist, Gonzalez was elected in 2008 as CEO and Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO. She is the first woman and person of color to be elected to head the Labor Council since the organization was founded in 1891.

Gonzalez ran for San Diego City Council during a 2005 special election and advanced to a runoff against future San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. However, Gonzalez ultimately lost the race to Faulconer by a margin of 724 votes out of 29,448 cast.

Gonzalez was elected to California’s 80th State Assembly district in a special election held May 21, 2013. She defeated former Chula Vista Councilmember Steve Castaneda with 70.75% of the vote. Gonzalez currently serves on the Assembly Committee on Education, the Assembly Committee on Health, the Assembly Committee on Insurance, the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife; and the Assembly Committee on Rules. She is also the first Chair of the Select Committee on Women in the Workplace. Lorena Gonzalez lives in San Diego with her two children, Tierra and Antonio.

THIS JUST IN: SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez made Politico Magazine’s 50 “thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics in 2016” list. According to the magazine, “Gonzalez might be the nation’s most ambitious progressive scientist.” Since 2013, Gonzalez has represented the 80th district, which includes much of southern San Diego and is the southernmost district in the state.

Politico calls Gonzalez “the brain trust for California’s most ambitious policy ideas,” citing her authorship of California’s automatic voter registration law, her co-authoring of the state’s $15 an hour minimum wage law, sponsorship of the law requiring student vaccination and her efforts to close the gender pay gap. However, the magazine states that “it’s Gonzalez’s trailblazing advocacy for mandatory paid sick leave that could make the biggest differencenationwide. In 2014, she wrote a law requiring every private-sector employer in California to provide paid sick days to employees—the first such state or federal law in U.S. history.”

Be sure to visit our booth at La Mesa’s Octoberfest on Sept. 30th, Oct. 1st and 2nd. More details available on our website and please like us on our fabulous Facebook page. Hope to see you at our next meeting on Wednesday, October 5th! More info:


Moderator-Brian Adams

Brian Adams joined the political science department at SDSU in 2003 after earning his Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. Brian’s research explores why local governments do not live up to their democratic potential. As small jurisdictions, localities should be “closer to the people,” allowing for more extensive citizen participation and greater accountability. Yet participation in local government is dismally low, and local officials are often unresponsive to citizen demands. Local governments, rather than being hotbeds of democratic activity are often corrupt and unresponsive entities dominated by elites. What accounts for this pattern?

Brian’s research approaches this question from a few different angles. First, he has analyzed non-electoral participation in local politics in an effort to assess how citizens participate. His 2007 book Citizen Lobbyists found that citizens take advantage of the many opportunities they have to participate and benefit from their participation in terms of promoting favorable policy and acquiring knowledge about the policy process. But given the manner in which they participate and the issues they choose to influence there is little benefit to the political system as a whole. He has also done research on how citizens discuss policy issues, finding that they offer evidence to support their claims but usually neglect to tie evidence and conclusions together in coherent arguments. They also avoid working through disagreements, preferring to deflect or simply ignore opposing viewpoints. Deliberative conversations among citizens typically comprise of strings of conclusions and evidence without much coherence or back-and-forth exchange.

A second strand of Brian’s research has examined local elections as a democratic practice. His book Campaign Finance in Local Elections: Buying the Grassroots examines whether the campaign finance system undermines the capacity of local elections to enhance the democratic character of American elections more generally. As the smallest units in the American political system, localities have the potential to contribute to democratic practices by fostering accessibility to the political system, promoting competitiveness, and reducing the biases seen in state and national elections. Yet the manner in which local candidates raise and spend campaign funds undermines these goals. He is currently working on an article that explores whether voters use a candidate’s occupation, which is listed on the ballot in California, to make decisions in low-information local races.

The final line of research focuses on conceptualizing the relative benefits of local governance. In a recent article (“Assessing the Merits of Decentralization: A Framework for Identifying the Causal Mechanisms Influencing Policy Outcomes”) Brian developed a new theoretical framework that explicates the causal mechanisms through which decentralization (moving policy authority from central governments to local ones) alters the motivations and behavior of government officials. He is currently working on a research project that explores the problem of scale for participatory and deliberative democratic theory, asking whether these theories, which are best suited for small governmental jurisdictions, can be relevant in a world dominated by large governments and global issues.

In addition to research and teaching courses at SDSU, Brian has done two stints of teaching overseas. In 2009, he spent six months at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea on a Faculty Fulbright grant, teaching American Politics to Korean students and researching Korean local government, For the 2011-12 academic year he taught at the Hopkins-Nanjing center in Nanjing, China, teaching courses on democracy and American politics to Chinese master’s students.


Panelist-Pedro Rios, director of AFSC’s US/Mexico Border Program

San Diego Program Director

Areas of Expertise:

Immigration | US/Mexico Border

Pedro Rios serves as director of the AFSC’s U.S./Mexico Border Program and has been on staff with AFSC for 13 years. He is also chairperson for the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, a coalition of over 25 different organizations in San Diego working to support the rights of immigrants.

A native San Diegan, Pedro has worked on immigrant rights and border issues for over 20 years. He became active on immigration issues in the early 1990s, when California was debating the passage of Proposition 187, the anti-immigrant initiative that was later ruled unconstitutional.

Currently, Pedro is overseeing a program that documents abuses by law enforcement agencies, working with many community groups, advocating for policy change, and interacting with migrant communities. Pedro has been widely interviewed and published by the Associated Press, Univision, ABC10, NBC7, and  Think Progress, among others.


Panelist- Isidro Ortiz, Ph.D. Professor SDSU
Areas of Research: Community organization, educational reform, Chicana and Chicano politics, political movements, educational practice, policy and reform, college student retention, engagement and success; origins and persistence of Chicano nationalism and relationship to oppression.


3rd Annual Party in the Park


America Salutes President Obama

The LMFDC Celebrates the Independence Day Holiday at the

3rd Annual Party in the Park, highlighted by a Special Auction of Obama Memorabilia

On Wednesday, July 6th from 6:00 – 9:00 PM, the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club will salute the many accomplishments of and bid a fond farewell to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle as they wrap up their nearly 8 years in the White House. We’ll have several notable guests joining us to help commemorate this special occasion, with tributes, remembrances, sharing of pictures, and auctioning of collectibles.

Jess Durfee, past chairperson of the San Diego County Democratic Party and current National Committee member and convention delegate, will describe his experiences with the Obama administration and the work being done in DC for national issues of import for Democratic progressives here in San Diego and across the country. He’ll undoubtedly share some observations of the upcoming presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and the presumptive

Republican nominee. Jess, who is also a noted baker, will be a featured taster and judge of our now famous pie baking contest. All attendees are encouraged to bring a delectable pie or other dessert to share with the 130+ members and guests, and to enter the contest. Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 dessert entries.

We’ve also invited a “who’s who” of San Diego County Democratic Party stars, including Party Chair Francine Busby, and 2 service veterans, to remind us of why we are able to celebrate our freedom and independence every July. Relating how their service experience helped shape their politics and world view will be vets Nathan Fletcher, former assemblyman and future office holder, and Doug Applegate, who just might upend our infamous nemesis Darrell Issa in their November Congressional contest.

Another highlight of the evening will be a fabulous chat with naturalist Linda Hassakis, who thrilled us last year with samples and stories of flora and fauna we can expect to find throughout the park. We are sure we will experience the unexpected with this very knowledgeable and engaging speaker.

The feature of the evening will undoubtedly be our Obama Memorabilia Silent Auction, featuring a variety of valuable collectibles donated by our own JoDee Rich.

A detailed pictorial and full description of the items can be found at our website, Items up for auction include framed 2008 Obama and other candidates limited edition comic books, Inauguration posters, pictures, prints, tickets and invitations, framed Marvel comics “The Amazing Spiderman”, limited edition “President’s Day Specials”, and much more. Bring your checkbooks and credit cards! Before the party, you can inspect and bid on items at our website.

JoDee.No. 4 BetheChange-4


The Party in the Park comes in the middle of our Independence Week Celebration, and we will again be hosted by Jay Wilson and the terrific staff of the Mission Trails Regional Park and Visitors Center. Our dinner event will feature sub sandwiches, salads, desserts, conversation and camaraderie on the beautiful patio overlooking the Park and the San Diego River canyon. It’s particularly convenient for our many members living in San Carlos, Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, La Mesa, Santee and the College Area. The dinner costs only $5.00 for members and $15.00 for non-members.

We look forward to signing up several new members at the door!

JoDee.Obama.No. 3 Comics




La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club
2016 Primary Election
Endorsed Democratic Candidates

U.S. Congress
Susan Davis, District #53
Scott Peters, District #52

State Offices
Dr. Shirley Weber, Assembly District #79
Todd Gloria, Assembly District #78
Toni Atkins, State Senate #39

County Board of Supervisors
Dave Roberts, District #3

Superior Court
Kari Katz, Office 38
James Mangione, Office 25

City of San Diego
Ed Harris, Mayor
Rafael Castellanos, City Attorney:
Barbara Bry, District #1
Chris Ward, District #3
Jose Caballero, District #7

Helix Water Board
Mark Grayck, District #3

El Cajon City Council
Stephanie Harper

June Newsletter

County Party Head, City Hall Reporter Headline June Meeting
Local Dems Prepare for the Primary


It’ll be another star studded affair for the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club. On Wednesday, June 1st, just 6 days before the vital California Primary Election, none other than Francine Busby will highlight our program. Head of the County Democratic Party, Francine is a frequent guest of the club and will no doubt give her “Progress Report” on the state of Democratic Candidates running for office in many crucial primary races.

She’ll be joined on the program by noted City Hall reporter and long time Voice of San Diego scribe, Andrew Keatts. It should make for a fascinating conversation, with Francine relating her views of what we need to do as activists and progressives to help Democrats win at the polls on June 7th, and Andrew telling it like it is, his observations as to who is probably going to win in several vigorously contested city and county races. Will the San Diego City Council keep its Democratic Majority? Will Mayor Faulconer win without a November election contest? Andrew will relate why it’s so difficult to unseat an incumbent in San Diego primary elections.

Francine Busby has distinguished herself as a strong advocate for women and girls, public education and equal opportunity for all Americans. She is the former Executive Director of Run Women Run, a non-profit organization dedicated to electing pro-choice women. Francine has also served as the President of the Cardiff School District and previously ran for Congress. Since 2004, she has been in the forefront of the dynamic growth of the San Diego County Democratic Party as a candidate, mentor, volunteer, North Area Vice Chair, and fundraiser


Andrew Keatts has the City Hall beat at VOSD and in his own words: “writes about land use, development, politics, all the things that work together to make the city the way it is for the people that live here.” Andrew is a 2006 graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University, and previously worked for the San Diego Daily Transcript. Andrew claims to like the Baltimore Orioles, food, music, beer, his dog Bodie and his wife, not necessarily in that order.

Also on the docket, we’ll hear from our friends on the Lemon Grove City Council, both now running for Mayor of that neighboring town, George Gastil and Racquel Vasquez. We hope to not only hear them tout their accomplishments, but endorse one or the other. They’ve been longtime members and supporters of our club, and it appears it’s a no lose proposition for our membership and the City of Lemon Grove.

We’ll also be voting on the 2016 slate of officers for the Club, and Francine Busby will do us the honor of swearing the newly elected into office. And lastly, on Saturday, June 4th, the LMFDC will proudly march in the La Mesa Flag Day Parade, now an annual tradition, one in which President Obama joins our procession with a special “Secret Service” detail. It’s always an honor and a lot of fun to join our many fellow La Mesa organizations in walking the couple mile parade route through the heart of town.

La Mesa, like many of the communities we represent, is filled with fellow Democrats and supporters. Our members also live in San Carlos, Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, Grantville, Santee, Mt. Helix, Casa de Oro, College area and several other close in East County communities. Our meetings are open to all and take place in the lovely La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., just North of University Ave. We gather on the first Wednesday of every month and begin at 7 PM after a half hour of social time with snacks, salads, beverages, desserts and much camaraderie. Don’t forget our Annual Party in the Park on July 6th as we celebrate Independence Day at the beautiful Mission Trails Visitors Center. Details can be found on our website: and follow us on Facebook for all the latest news.

Linda Armacost, President
Jeff Benesch, VP of Programming
La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club



Dr. T. Todd Elvins to Represent Citizens Climate Lobby at Local Dems Meeting

Derek Casady to also speak on Climate Mobilization

Special Appearance by Supervisor Dave Roberts


The only Democrat on the Board of Supervisors, Dave Roberts, will lead off our May 4 meeting and seek our endorsement.

 Todd-Elvins pic 2


Following Supervisor Roberts, we take a breather this month from our months’ long series of candidate debates, discussions and endorsements and get back to all important Climate Action!



Local climate expert, Dr. Todd Elvins will be the KEYNOTE speaker at the May meeting of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club. Dr. Elvins is an engineer, entrepreneur and executive with many years of leadership success. He holds a PhD in Engineering from UCSD and for 10 years, teamed with earth, ocean and space scientists at the UCSD Supercomputer Center. Today, Dr. Elvins serves on the executive team at a San Diego cleantech company and is a renowned speaker for the Citizens’ Climate Lobby. CCL is a national grassroots non-profit that puts together upbeat interactive climate presentations for groups throughout the country. We are thrilled Dr. Elvins will be spending time with us on Wednesday evening, May 4th.


Among other things, Dr. Elvins will discuss:

-Climate change is a fact: It’s caused by humans burning fossil fuels.

-Economists worldwide agree that the fairest, fastest, cheapest, and most effective solution is to charge fossil fuel companies a gradually rising fee on the carbon in their fuel products.

-A carbon fee is a market-based solution that creates millions of jobs, adds a trillion dollars to our country’s gross domestic product, saves lives due to avoided air pollution, and quickly decreases climate pollution.

-The world’s faith leaders, including the Pope, recently have directed their followers to care for the environment, our common home.

-The fact is that there is NO SCIENTIFIC DEBATE about climate change. Some 99.9 percent of peer-reviewed literature concludes that burning fossil has been wonderful for advancing civilization, but terrible for the climate. Despite the cooling effects of volcanoes and earth axis wobbles, the earth is warming, which means that humans account for 100 percent of the observed warming.


Sharing the dais with Dr. Elvins will be Derek Casady speaking on behalf of The Climate The Climate Mobilization is a new, all-volunteer organization devoted to protecting civilization and the natural world from catastrophic climate disruption. They are dedicated to living in climate truth and believe that working to solve the climate crisis is everyone’s responsibility. Dozens of leading environmental analysts have determined that the only way to save civilization from climate change is with a wartime-style mobilization, akin to the American home-front effort during World War II. This stark appraisal lies at the heart of this project. In that sense, The Climate Mobilization is a single-issue campaign. They demand a WWII-scale mobilization to restore a safe climate.

Derek is a retired Copy Editor at the Los Angeles Times, retired Associate Editor of Psychology Today magazine, and retired Administrative Assistant to the President Pro Tempore of the California Senate. He is the President of the La Jolla Democratic Club. Derek and wife Nancy have both run for elected office and have played active roles in supporting successful Democratic Candidates throughout San Diego County.


If you missed our April Meeting, you also missed a great discussion with the UT’s Government Editor Michael Smolens, and an update from Todd Gloria, SD Council member and candidate for the 78th Assembly District. And we met Ed Harris, a great candidate for San Diego Mayor and a veteran of San Diego politics as head of the City Lifeguards Union and appointed City Councilperson from District 2. We enthusiastically endorsed both Todd and Ed in their respective campaigns and know they’ll be tireless advocates for working people, open governance, and the environment.


YARD SALE UPDATE: It appears this year’s yard sale, Saturday, April 23rd from 7 AM to 1 PM, is shaping up to be the biggest ever. Word is that many members are Spring Cleaning in an effort to ensure we have more quality goods and better bargains than our previous 7 successful sales. This year we’ll again be at the Perkins’ Residence, 5009 Randlett, La Mesa, just a couple blocks East of our monthly meeting place at the La Mesa Community Center. DON’T MISS THE YARD SALE and check out our Facebook page for updates on merchandise and other deals.



If you live in San Carlos, Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, College Area, Santee, La Mesa, Mt. Helix, and other nearby communities and ARE NOT YET A MEMBER of LMFDC, you are missing scintillating monthly programs, great camaraderie among like-minded progressives, political action and get-out-the-vote efforts, community involvement on many fronts, our monthly newsletter, and regular informative updates from members and Club President, Linda Armacost.

This year, it’s VITALLY IMPORTANT to get involved with local and national politics as the stakes are higher than ever! There are generational changes pending on issues spanning immigration reform, women’s health, voting rights, Supreme Court appointments, climate change, living wages, Convadiums, open space, and so much more.


The last year has seen a jump in both club memberships and meeting attendance with over 100 members and guests joining the festivities each month. We meet the first Wednesday of every month at La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., just North of University Ave. Our meetings begin with social ½ hour at 6:30 PM and then the business and speakers start at 7 PM. We offer light snacks, healthy sides, desserts, and beverages of all sorts. Check out our very informative website at Please join us soon.


Linda Armacost, President

Jeff Benesch, VP Programming

8th Annual Yard Sale

Our 8th Annual Yard Sale is fast approaching and as always, you wonderful members come through with donations. Each year I tell myself I have cleaned out my closets and garage and won’t have stuff to donate, but, each year I find lots of things I am not going to use again. We know from past sales that hardware, power tools, furniture and baby clothes are proven sellers. We have been getting more electronics each year and they sell very well too. If you have a neighbor, friend or relative who is moving or ‘cleaning out’ please ask them to donate. We usually sell all the plants we have each year and would welcome those.

We have two folks with trucks to pick up large items so don’t worry about getting stuff over to the sale sight. I will be emailing again to remind you all as the date gets closer.

The Yard Sale helps defray our two largest expenses, our wonderful meeting room (the envy of nearly every club in the county) and our monthly newsletter.

LMFDC 8th Annual Yard Sale
Saturday, April 23, 2016
7:00 am to 1:00 pm
Perkins Residence 5009 Randlett, La Mesa



Panel of Supporters to Debate Issues at Local Dem Meeting

Mayor’s Contest, D1 and D3 Also on Docket

Bernie Sanders1    Hillary1

Trying to duplicate the scintillating series of Candidates Forums of the past couple of months, the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will tackle the Presidential Race at our Wednesday, March 2nd Meeting. Fervent supporters of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will battle for the Club’s coveted endorsement in an exchange that is sure to highlight each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. There will be no trumping this exciting and emotional tiff between 2 great presidential candidates. Look for our talented and celebrity panel of speakers and moderators in what should be the highlight of our pre-primary exhibitions.


And that’s not the end of the evening’s outstanding agenda: We’ll also hear and vote on endorsement for outstanding Democratic Candidates in San Diego City Races in the key District 1 and District 3 contests. We’ve invited Chris Ward and Anthony Bernal to appear for District 3 and the extremely qualified Barbara Bry in District 1. We’ll follow each of the forums with an endorsement vote.

And in a recent addition, we are very excited to have our old friend Lori Saldana, now running as an independent for the office of Mayor of San Diego. The former Democratic Assembly person and longtime local politico has headlined our meetings on a couple of occasions, and always speaks truth to power, and will tell us why she’s the best candidate to replace the ineffectual Kevin Faulconer as mayor. Friend of the environment, workers, affordable housing, veterans, women’s rights, education reform, a minimum wage hike and a host of other progressive issues; Lori finds agreement with most of the ideals and aspirations of our diverse membership.

Our members and guests come from San Carlos, Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, College Area, Mission Valley, Santee, La Mesa, Mt. Helix, Spring Valley, Casa De Oro and other unincorporated areas of Eastern San Diego County.

The La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club meets the first Wednesday of every month at the very nice La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., just North of University. We begin with a social ½ hour at 6:30 PM with a variety of snacks, desserts and beverages provided by the club membership. Our meetings begin at 7:00 PM and we encourage all area progressives to join us for our always interesting, stimulating and thought provoking programs. Visit our webpage at for a calendar, photos, and highlights of our many community activities. Be sure to like us on Facebook. Now read more about our candidates:

Anthony Bernal pic2

ANTHONY BERNAL One of Anthony Bernal’s first jobs was as a project manager with an affiliate of the National Council of La Raza. He provided support to working families. He was later hired by a locally-owned Engineering and Construction Management firm. His experience in managing projects coupled with a heart for the community, prepared him for the current role as Director of Business and Community Projects for San Diego Council President Todd Gloria. He also served as a member of the Human Rights Campaign San Diego Steering Committee. Currently he’s a founding member of the Cortez Hill Active Residents Group, Pure Water San Diego Working Group and President of the San Diego Sigma Chi Alumni Chapter.

chris ward2

CHRIS WARD Chris serves as the Chief of Staff to State Senator Marty Block, representing the communities of the Third City Council District and most of the City of San Diego. In this capacity, Chris is strongly committed to excellence in constituent services, facilitating public participation in policymaking, and organizing state and local resources to make our neighborhoods a better place every day. Previously, Chris was an environmental planner at the firm EDAW, working with local government to develop land use plans and conduct environmental review to help create inclusive, community-based solutions to neighborhood challenges and organize strategies to achieve long-term goals. Chris earned his Bachelor of Arts degree at Johns Hopkins University and a Master’s in Public Policy and Urban Planning at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

BB headshot small

BARBARA BRY Barbara Bry is a high tech entrepreneur and community leader who worked her way through college and grad school, earning a Master’s Degree in Business from Harvard. As a single working mom, Barbara was on the founding team of several local high-tech companies, including, which has created hundreds of local jobs. A leader in the San Diego business community, Barbara taught entrepreneurship at UCSD and founded an organization that supports the advancement of women in the tech sector. As a business journalist, she has also spotlighted the vibrant small business community that supports our City’s economy and was honored as Small Business Journalist of the Year for San Diego and Imperial Counties by the Small Business Administration.

Barbara has deep roots in the community and has lived here for almost 35 years. She is married to Neil Senturia, raised her two daughters here, and is a proud Grandmother. She served as President of the Board of the Children’s Museum of San Diego and as Vice Chair of the San Diego Jewish Community Foundation. As the first high-tech entrepreneur on the City Council, Barbara will bring her enterprising and relentless mind-set to City Hall to keep San Diego safe, clean and prosperous. Barbara will work to create better paying high-tech jobs and help small businesses grow, so that we can invest in maintaining San Diego’s quality of life by fixing our streets; protecting our beaches, bays, and parks; and conserving our water supply.

lori saldana1

LORI SALDANA A San Diego native, Lori grew up in Clairemont in a large family of girls. The experience of being a daughter of a career Marine would later influence her legislative work on behalf of active-duty service members, veterans and military families.

Among many bills authored by Lori was the landmark Global Warming legislation. She served in the Environmental Caucus and was considered one of the state’s most influential environmental voices. She earned a 100% Sierra Club voting record during her 6 years in the Assembly. For her work on behalf of veterans, Lori was named the 2006 Legislator of the Year by the California Assoc. of County Veterans Service Officers.

Lori attended both Mesa College and SDSU getting her BA and Masters of Arts from the latter. Lori spent the year immediately following her graduation as a union carpenter’s apprentice, an experience that taught her the value of technical-vocational training, and reinforced her commitment to workforce development and San Diego’s working families. She later became a popular instructor of Business Information Technology for the San Diego Community College Dist. Lori developed and managed several educational and technical job skills programs, including a $1.5 million development grant from the US Dept. of Labor for the District.

Lori co-founded the first San Diego Earth Day Celebration in 1990, and went on to serve as Chair of the San Diego Chapter of the Sierra Club from 1994 to 1997. She was appointed by President Bill Clinton to the Border Environment Cooperation Commission in 1999 and later served as Co-chair of the Advisory Council. Since 1994, the commission has invested billions in creating cleaner water along the US and Mexico border. As a result of this work, Lori received an environmental policy research fellowship at the Center for US and Mexico Studies at UCSD.

In 2004, Lori won the first of her 3 terms in the State Legislature, including a stint as Assistant Majority Whip, Speaker Pro Tempore and Chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus. Among her significant contributions to the legislature, she authored bills to aid Military Families, promote roof top solar, develop California’s green tech economy, and became an outspoken advocate of healthcare reform.







City Attorney and D7 Debates, Endorsement Votes Highlight Local Dems February Meeting

Large Crowd Braves the Elements and Enjoys Block/Atkins Tilt

Coming off a sensational clash at our January meeting between two progressive champions, State Senator Marty Block and Speaker of the Assembly Toni Atkins, each running for the 39th State Senatorial seat, the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club will be back at it in February with another outstanding set of debates and endorsement votes. Featured will be the 3 great Democratic candidates for San Diego City Attorney: Rafael Castellanos, Gil Cabrera, and Mara Elliot. All are lawyers with extensive and diverse backgrounds in public service.

Attendees will be equally pleased by an exchange between two enthusiastic Navy veterans running for the San Diego City Council District 7 seat: Jose Caballero and Justin DeCesare. Both debates will be followed by Club endorsement votes, with the first candidate to get 60% support earning the prestigious LMFDC stamp of approval. We’ll also be voting on an endorsement for the Citizens’ Plan for San Diego as presented in January by local powerhouse attorney Cory Briggs.

The La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club, representing hundreds of like-minded progressives in La Mesa, San Carlos, Spring Valley, College, and many other nearby East County communities, meets the first Wednesday of each month at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., at University Ave. in La Mesa. It’s just a couple minutes off the Spring Street exit of I-8.

Our agenda will begin at 6:30 PM with our ever popular social ½ hour, with snacks, sweets, camaraderie and beverages, followed by the formal meeting starting promptly at 7 PM. The City Attorney Debate will kick-off shortly thereafter, with the D7 forum following at approximately 8 PM.

Both debates will feature a series of questions on issues that concern all city and county residents. You can depend on some of the questions touching on the Briggs/Frye Citizens’ Plan measure, stadium/convention center funding, infrastructure and traffic concerns, the Chargers, growth and development, environmental issues, climate action plans, SANDAG planning, medical marijuana, and many other topics that concern our diverse membership.

The candidates for City Attorney

Rafael Castellanos

Rafael Castellanos received his college degree from Arizona State University and a law degree from the University of Chicago Law School. Eventually, he made his way to Los Angeles to practice law, then to San Diego where he found his calling, immersing himself in the law and in using the law to serve his community.

He is a Member of the Board of Commissioners of the Unified Port of San Diego having been appointed by the San Diego City Council. He Chairs the Port’s Environmental Advisory Committee. Among his many civic roles he has served on the Board of MANA de San Diego, the San Diego La Raza Lawyers Association, and Teach for America – San Diego. He has worked with the San Diego Foundation to address climate change preparation and has also worked tirelessly at the Port to address the issue of chronic homelessness on the waterfront.

Gil Cabrera pic

Gil Cabrera

Gil Cabrera was the first in his family to finish college (at California State University Fullerton) and the only person to go to graduate school (at Boston College School of Law). During his career, Gil has represented a broad spectrum of clients – from some of the largest companies in the country to small local businesses — as litigation counsel and outside General Counsel. In 2007, Gil started the Cabrera Firm, where he has continued to provide legal advice to small and growing companies as General Counsel.

For seven years, Gil served as an appointed Judge Pro Tem of the Superior Court, hearing hundreds of Small Claims and Traffic Court trials. In 1999, Gil joined the Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego board of directors and in 2002 was named chairman of the board. In 2003, Gil was appointed to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America’s National Board of Directors. In this role, Gil was responsible for overseeing the performance of every Make-A-Wish chapter in the country.

In 2005, Gil was appointed by the Mayor and City Council to the San Diego Ethics Commission, which monitors and enforces the City’s campaign finance and ethics laws and proposes new governmental ethics law reforms. Between 2007 and 2009, Gil served as the Ethics Commission’s Chairman. During his tenure, the Ethics Commission recommended, and the City Council passed, a complete overhaul of the City’s Lobbying Ordinance, which created greater transparency of lobbying activities in San Diego.

Most recently, in February 2014, Gil was appointed by Interim Mayor Todd Gloria and the San Diego City Council to the San Diego Convention Center Corporation’s Board of Directors, which oversees the operations of the San Diego Convention Center. Gil presently serves as Chair of the Board’s Budget Committee overseeing the Convention Center’s $33 million budget.

Mara Elliot pic

Mara Elliott

As Chief Deputy City Attorney, Mara Elliott leads the City’s legal team responsible for reforming city contracting practices, strengthening city audits and enforcing environmental protection laws. Mara advises the City’s influential and independent Audit Committee and the City Council’s Committee on the Environment.

Previously, Mara served as general counsel to community college and K-12 school districts as well as counsel to the County of San Diego and the San Diego Metropolitan Transit Development Board. Mara serves on the League of California Cities’ Public Records Act Committee and was an editor of the California Municipal Law Handbook.

A long-time community leader, Mara Elliott chairs a committee of the San Diego Lawyers Club working to advance the status of women in the law. A public school parent, Mara is a leader on her son’s local School Site Council. Mara also serves as trustee of the San Diego County Law Library and was recently honored as Advocate of the Year for her work for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The daughter of a Longshoreman father and mother who emigrated from Mexico, Mara Elliott graduated from UC Santa Barbara and University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.

The candidates for District 7


Jose Caballero

Native born Texan Jose Caballero was accepted to the prestigious Naval Nuclear Power School where he became a nuclear engineer for the United States Navy. He served in the Navy for six years. Four of those years were spent here in San Diego when he was a reactor operator for the USS Ronald Reagan. He did four deployments in the hostile waters of the gulf supporting operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

Afterwards, Jose went to San Diego State University to receive a degree in Political Science.. He has been a mentor for underprivileged youth and organized multiple cleanups across the city. His most recent achievement was working on the Kevin Beiser for School Board Campaign.

justin decesare

Justin DeCesare

Justin DeCesare is a local businessman and broker in the real estate industry, the President of the Tierrasanta Community Council, the father of two young children, and a 8-year veteran of the United States Navy.

Justin believes that a strong middle class builds a strong regional economy. He is proud of his experiences in the Navy and gladly represents his neighbors in the real estate industry and as President of the Tierrasanta Community Council. He would like to continue that service in the community as the San Diego City Council representative for District 7.

The La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club is one of the largest and most active chartered Democratic Clubs in San Diego County. Our March meeting will continue our series of candidate forums, local issues and endorsements, and will give everyone a chance to weigh in on the Presidential race. Please visit our website at for more information and like us on Facebook.




Roy Zimmerman To Highlight our December 2nd Holiday Meeting


Holiday Feast and Political Satire to be featured at Gala


Roy Zimmerman, America’s premier political satirist, and guitar strummin’ singer-songwriter, whose witty left-slanted commentary is primarily focused on social justice, will make a return appearance to headline the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club’s annual holiday gala. The festivities begin at 6 PM, Wednesday night, December 2nd at the La Mesa Community Center.


The LMFDC, representing the communities of San Carlos, Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, the College Area, La Mesa, Mt. Helix, Santee and other nearby East County communities, meets the first Wednesday of every month at 4975 Memorial Drive, just North of University Ave. in La Mesa.

Our large, progressive membership invites community members to join us at all our meetings and special events. Our December meeting is a robust festive meal complete with Roasted Turkeys and Ham, vegan dishes, the traditional holiday fixings, plus appetizers and salads, beverages, and specially baked pies and desserts, all of which are supplied by the club and it’s members. Our holiday meeting is always one of the best attended, and with the addition of Roy Zimmerman, this year’s party should be especially memorable.


A native of Southern California, Zimmerman was the founder of the satirical folk quartet, The Foremen, which performed at the national conventions of both major American political parties in 1996. Continuing as a solo act, Roy explained the philosophy behind writing and performing humorous songs on increasingly political subjects,

There’s nothing funny about World Peace. Social Justice never killed at the Comedy Store. If we ever attain a worldwide consciousness of peace and justice, I’ll be happily out of a job. But as long as there’s poverty, war, bigotry, ignorance, greed, lust and paranoia, I’ve got a career.

Roy Zimmerman lives and works in Bay Area’s Marin County with his wife and frequent collaborator, Melanie Harby, and their sons Joe and Sam. He’ll have copies of his many hilarious and biting original songs and cds for sale at the meeting. (Great holiday gifts, btw)

As part of our annual holiday commitment to provide for those less fortunate, our Club’s Holiday Gift Drive will this year benefit the Western Service Workers Association.  Western Service Workers Association (WSWA) is a free and voluntary, private, unincorporated membership association of low-income service workers throughout San Diego County. Year-round WSWA runs a self-help Benefit Program that includes emergency food, clothing, preventive medical care, non-emergency dental care, legal advice and more. Meanwhile, WSWA members unite with students, housewives, professionals, business owners, clergy and others to build long-term solutions and eliminate the root causes of poverty.

It is requested that each attendee bring an unwrapped new toy for a school-aged child, so that they may be distributed this holiday season to families of the Western Service Workers organization. A monetary donation is also especially welcomed at this time of year.

Remember the doors open early for this special meeting and party. We request that each member and guest donate $15. (Or whatever you can afford) at the door, to help offset the cost of our noted musical guest.   Memberships for 2016 will also be for sale, at $30, $50, and $60. levels. Check out our website:, or visit and like us on Facebook. See you on the 2nd of December! And you won’t want to miss our January 6th meeting and debate, where sparks are sure to fly! Club endorsements will also occur in the first few meetings of 2016.


Linda Armacost, President

Jeff Benesch, VP Programming

La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club








Regional Issues to Highlight Candidates Forum

La Mesa Oktoberfest also on Calendar

The October 7th Meeting of local Democrats will feature candidates from all over the County introducing themselves in a District by District format with crucial regional issues being brought into focus: Mass Transportation vs Recurring Traffic Problems, Smart Growth vs Unfettered Development, SANDAG Planning (or not?), and Climate Action and Sustainability Goals all being discussed.

The La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club, serving San Carlos, Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, College

Area, La Mesa, Santee, Mt. Helix and other Eastside communities, will welcome the great

Democratic Candidates from the SD City Attorney race, as well as our local District 7 City

Council contest. We’ll also hear from Candidates in the City contests in the 1st, 3rd and 9th District races, all key to maintaining Democratic control of the SD City Council.

We can also expect representatives for County Supervisor Dave Roberts, Assemblyperson Shirley Weber, and Congresspeople Scott Peters and Susan Davis. Many candidates are looking for our club’s influential endorsement for 2016.

A real treat will be the introduction of local efforts behind both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, and how our members can get involved in either of those dynamic campaigns. While not a debate as such, we’ll still have some back and forth between our friend Mike Thaller of Bernie’s San Diego Campaign, and Ray Penko, Organizer of the SD County Hillary Grassroots effort. Should be fascinating.

Our monthly meetings, on the first Wednesday of each month, take place at the wonderful La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., just North of University Ave. We open the doors at 6:30 PM for our social hour, with snacks, desserts and beverages supplied by the club and generous members. Meetings start promptly at 7 PM. We welcome all guests, and have a discounted deal for pro­rated memberships available for the rest of the year.

Don’t miss our wonderful booth at the La Mesa Oktoberfest, noon to 10 PM, Friday and

Saturday, October 2nd and 3rd. Did you know this is the largest Oktoberfest festival West of the

Mississippi?   Please be sure to stop by our booth and say hi. We are very near BO Beau Restaurant on La Mesa Blvd. We’ll be registering new voters, signing up new members, and handing out campaign materials. You can even get your picture taken with President Obama. Visit our Website at, or like us on Facebook.

Steven Druker

Steven M. Druker

GMO Expert to Address Local Dem Club

Toni Atkins a Big Hit at Last Meeting

 It’s been a memorable Summer for the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club, which serves San Carlos, Allied Gardens, Grantville, Del Cerro, College Area, La Mesa, Mt. Helix, Santee and other nearby East County Communities. First, our July Party in the Park was a big hit with members and guests as we thanked Councilperson Marti Emerald for her years of service. Then our August meeting featured Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, who, along Chrisy Selder of CARR, wowed the audience with a progress report on bills that promise to have a significant impact on San Diego and the State of California. And now, our September 2nd meeting promises more of the same.

We’ll be hosting Steven M. Druker, well known attorney and author who will be sure to pack our La Mesa Community Center venue, and provide us with an eye opening talk about the realities of Genetically Engineered food and how it’s already well established not only in our food system, but our political process as well. This event is co-sponsored by Citizens Oversight Projects with March Against Monsanto, San Diego. Please arrive early to guarantee a seat (limited to 350). A voluntary donation of $5 will be requested at the door to offset the costs of Mr. Druker’s appearance in La Mesa. Doors open at 6:30 PM for our social time, and the meeting kicks off at 7 PM.

Steven Druker is a public interest attorney who, as executive director of the Alliance for Bio­ Integrity, initiated a lawsuit that forced the FDA to divulge its files on genetically engineered foods. This revealed that politically appointed administrators had covered up the extensive warnings of their own scientists about the unusual risks of these foods, misrepresented the facts, and then ushered these novel products onto the market in violation of explicit mandates of federal food safety law. He is recognized as an expert on issues regarding the risks and the regulation of GE foods and has served on the food safety panels at conferences conducted by the National Research Council and the FDA.

He has also lectured at numerous universities (including the Biological Laboratories at Harvard, Tel Aviv University, and the University of Copenhagen) and met with government officials world­wide, including the UK’s Environmental Minister and the heads of food safety for the UK, France, Ireland, and Australia. He was also invited to confer at the White House Executive Offices with an interagency task force of President Clinton’s Council on Environmental Quality. His articles on GE food have appeared in several respected publications, including The Congressional Quarterly Researcher, The Parliament Magazine, and The Financial Times.

He majored in philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year, and graduated with “Great Distinction in General Scholarship.” He also attended UC Berkeley’s law school, where he was elected to both the California Law Review and the Order of the Coif (the legal honor society).

His new book, Altered Genes Twisted Truth: How the Venture to Genetically Engineer Our Food Has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public, was released in March with a foreword by Jane Goodall hailing it as “without doubt one of the most important books of the last 50 years.” Among the other scientists who have also praised it highly are David Schubert, a professor and laboratory director at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, who has called it “incisive, insightful, and truly outstanding”. Mr. Druker will have copies of the book available for sale and signing at the meeting.

Our membership rolls are surging as local progressives discover our club, and it’s unique combination of great monthly programs, community involvement, progressive idealism and our efforts to elect public officials who share our passion for middle class representation, equality for all peoples, and respect for our planet and environment.   Please join us on the first Wednesday of every month at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., at University Ave. We’ll again be manning a booth at La Mesa’s Octoberfest, so be sure to drop by and see us. And check out our calendar at, and like us on Facebook! Become part of our wonderful community and bring a friend.


SEPTEMBER MEETING TO FEATURE AUTHOR AND GMO OPPONENT Attorney Steven Druker will present his book “Altered Genes, Twisted Truth — How the Venture to Genetically Engineer our Food has Subverted Science, Corrupted Government, and Systematically Deceived the Public” He filed a federal case against the FDA in the late 1990s against their policy of accepting all Genetically Modified foods as “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) and uncovered the truth behind our modified foods. This event is co-sponsored by the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club and Citizens Oversight Projects with March Against Monsanto, San Diego. Please arrive early to guarantee a seat (limited to 300 or so).


This meeting is free for LMFDC members. Non-member guests please see RSVP information below. We appreciate your donation of $5 or more at the door to help us with Mr. Druker’s expenses! LOCATION: La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr, La Mesa, California DATE: 9/2/2015, 6:30pm COST: $5 donation to cover our costs. 6:30pm — Social Networking, Book Sales. 7pm — Intro plus Talk by Steven Druker 8:30pm — Book sales, signing. 9pm – conclusion


PLEASE CLICK “JOIN” to RSVP, but please note, this does not reserve your seat. You must arrive promptly to get a seat and be able to purchase your own signed copy of his excellent book!



Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins to Headline Dem Meeting on August 5th.

Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins to Headline Dem Meeting

Party in the Park Called a Huge Success

La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will host the Speaker of the California State Assembly.Speaker atkins (2)

Toni Atkins at our special August 5 meeting. The Speaker will cover a wide range of topics including a legislative update and how San Diegans can and will be affected by the new state budget. And a new California Law sponsored by Speaker Atkins mandating that Residential Care Facilities carry liability insurance will get special attention.

The Wednesday night meeting will start with social time at 6:30 PM and the talking gets underway at 7 PM. LMFDC represents the communities of Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, San Carlos, La Mesa, Mt. Helix, Santee, College area and other close in East County towns. We meet at the La Mesa Community Center at 4975 Memorial Dr. just North of University Avenue.

Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins has served in the California State Assembly since 2010, and was elevated to the top leadership post in 2014, when her colleagues unanimously elected her 69th Speaker of the California Assembly. Speaker Atkins proudly represents the people of coastal San Diego, from Imperial Beach, north to Solana Beach, and most of central San Diego. She previously served eight years on the San Diego City Council, and became a stabilizing force during a tumultuous period in 2005, stepping in as Acting Mayor after the resignation of the mayor.

Speaker Atkins is a coalition-builder who believes government policies can improve people’s lives. She is a leading voice for affordable housing, a powerful advocate for women, and champion for veterans and homeless people. Prior to her election as Speaker, she held the position of Majority Leader. She chaired the Assembly Select Committee on Homelessness, and served on committees on Agriculture, Housing and Community Development, Health, Judiciary, Veterans Affairs, Select Committee on Ports, Select Committee on Biotechnology as well as the Joint Legislative Audit Committee.

Her life of public service began in San Diego in the mid-1980s as director of clinic services at Womancare Health Center. She became a staff representative of then-City Councilmember Christine Kehoe, later winning her mentor’s council seat after Ms. Kehoe’s election to the Assembly. She represented the City of San Diego in the local chapter of the League of California Cities; on the board of the Metropolitan Transit System; on the San Diego Association of Governments; the Regional Housing Working Group; and the San Diego River Conservancy.

This meeting will be unique not just because we’ll have the first Assembly Speaker ever from San Diego, but we’ll also get a civics lesson in politics and policy at work. Not long after the publication of a series of disclosures about elder abuses in residential care facilities (also called assisted living homes), it was revealed that over 85% of these homes lacked basic liability insurance despite caring for frail, dependent seniors. Therefore, in the case of neglect, abuse, injury or death, there was little judicial recourse for residents or their families. Speaker Atkins took up the cause and put forward Assembly Bill 1523. It was passed in a non partisan vote and signed into law by Governor Brown. It went into effect on July 1st of this year. Now all RCFEs (Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly) will be required to carry liability insurance in California.Carr founders (2)

The driving force behind this legislation was a small advocacy group named CARR, Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform. The 2 founders of this Award Winning organization are Chris Murphy and Christina Selder. Ms. Selder will be sharing their story with our members in a follow up to Speaker Atkins address. How exactly do 2 women with investigative and research experience convince the Speaker of the Assembly to carry a bill to protect seniors from unscrupulous care providers? It’s a great story and a lesson in good timing and a just cause.

Christina (Chrisy) Selder holds a Master of Science degree in Gerontology from San Diego State University, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics/International Trade and Finance from Louisiana State University. She has previously held an RCFE Administrator’s Certificate, earned an SDSU Grant Writing Certification and completed components of UCSD’s Paralegal Training to be of further benefit to CARR’s mission and work. Her scholarship and credentials are augmented by her hands-on employment experiences inside several RCFEs.

CARR recently won a $50,000 contract with the County of San Diego, Aging & Independence Services for a pilot project to create a rating system for the County’s assisted living facilities, and to develop a consumer-friendly website to display the ratings and facility information. CARR was also the recipient of the First Amendment Coalition’s Free Speech and Open Government Award for their work, making CARR the first non-profit to receive this honor.

Despite a little rain, our 2nd Annual Party in the Park turned out to be a real success. Over 130 attendees saw a moving tribute to retiring City Councilperson Marti Emerald, heard Todd Gloria and Scott Peters each speak eloquently to a rapt audience, and enjoyed Park Naturalist Linda Hassakis give an entertaining and educational presentation about Mission Trails Regional Park. Our great thanks to Jay Wilson and the entire staff at the Visitors Center, and to Cheers Deli for supplying some great sub sandwiches. Our silent auction raised over $700 and we signed up 16 new members. Lastly, we heard enthusiastic pitches from several of our Democratic hopefuls for City office and hope they’ll all return for our Candidates Forum in September.

Please find photos and more information for all our LMFDC events and meetings at and please like us on Facebook.

Linda Armacost, President and Jeff Benesch, VP Programming

La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club

Party in the Park Extravaganza to Honor Marti Emerald

Party in the Park Extravaganza to Honor Marti Emerald on July 1st

starting at 6 PM – 9 PM at Mission Trails Park


Area Democrats to Continue Tradition at Mission Trails Park

Last year, La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club took a big gamble and held their first ever meeting away from the friendly confines of the La Mesa Community Center.  Due to overwhelming positive feedback and a great turnout of 120 members and guests, this year’s event at Mission Trails Regional Park promises to be even bigger and better. The Party in the Park kicks off our Independence Week Celebration on Wednesday, July 1st from 6:00 – 9 PM. We will again be hosted by Jay Wilson and the terrific staff of the MTRP Foundation and Interpretive Center.  And again, our event will feature dinner, desserts, talk and camaraderie on the beautiful patio overlooking the Park and the San Diego River canyon.   It’s particularly convenient for our many members living in San Carlos, Del Cerro, Allied Gardens and the College Area.  The dinner costs $5.00 for members and $15.00 for non-members.  We’ll be signing up new members at the door.

Along with dinner, we’ll have a couple of fascinating speakers, some local beer and wine tasting, a silent auction, our famous pie tasting competition and the highlight of the evening:  We’ll be recognizing Councilperson Marti Emerald for her many years of outstanding service to San Diego, first as a Consumer Report for Channel 10, and then as an outspoken advocate on the San Diego City Council.  Many of us got to know Marti and worked diligently for her first election in the District 7 race in her Allied Gardens office.  She’s been a terrific friend of the club, and this is our last opportunity to thank her for the many contributions she’s made to progressive causes on the Council.  Marti retires from her current District 9 office at the end of this current term.

Linda Hassakis, Trail Guide and Event Coordinator at the Park will give us a fascinating talk on the native flora and fauna along with some natural history of the park.  “Mission Trails Regional Park:  A Model for Sharing” will include some great info about the San Diego River and ongoing conservation efforts.  It should be a great education for us all.

We also expect to hear from Congressman Scott Peters in whose district the Mission Trails Interpretive Center resides.  We hope he’ll be able to give us an update on doings in the mostly deadlocked House of Representatives, and of course, his strategy to keep his seat in Democratic hands in 2016.  Francine Busby, SD County Democratic Chairperson will also be joining us, as will National Committee member Jess Durfee.  We’ll be hearing from Justin DeCesare, candidate for the District 7 City Council seat which should develop into a heated race with the incumbent.  We’ll all have a great opportunity to schmooze with other outstanding candidates for many of the crucial contests both in the City of San Diego, and other areas of the County.

 IN A MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT, our August 5th meeting, back at the La Mesa Community Center, will feature none other than Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins!  We’ll be thrilled to hear the Speaker address crucial updates from the Capitol, including environmental issues, the minimum wage, affordable housing, banning imports of ivory, education bills, drought actions, LGBT issues, and much, much more.  Don’t miss it.

And our June 3rd meeting was quite the revelation for our membership when Rear Admiral (Ret.) Len Hering, Director of the Center for Sustainable Energy and 32 year Navy Veteran, surprised us all with an “adult conversation” about the realities of Climate Change.  Saying he was doing this for his 3 grandchildren and their futures, he presented a 70 minute power point that showed just how dire the future is unless we act quickly and decisively to reverse our common habits of water waste, wanton overuse of fossil fuels, and relying on old, easy choices.  His studies and experiences show, and there were many graphs and charts to prove it, that we Americans, while comprising about 5% of the world’s population, use about 3/4s of the world’s resources.  And the developing world is growing in population and essential needs at a much faster rate than we care to recognize.  Much of the world is running short of potable water, energy, and sanitary housing.  Made us all think a little harder about our big meals and long showers, that’s for sure.  Let’s hope that we can all work to elect decision makers that acknowledge Global Climate Change and the importance of how our actions today portend for the sustainable future of our species.

Please visit our website at and like us on facebook.  We hope to see many more of our progressive friends at Mission Trails Park on July 1st.

Linda Armacost, Ed.D, President

Jeff Benesch, VP for Programs

La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club

Our Speaker for June 3rd

Local Dems to hear from Sustainability Expert, Retired Rear Admiral Len_Hering

Flag Day Parade and Party in the Park also on Calendar

La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will have the honor of hosting one of the experts in green energy issues when the Executive Director of the Center for Sustainable Energy, Ret. Rear Admiral Len Hering, addresses the membership at their June 3rd meeting.

The club, which claims members from San Carlos, Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, Grantville, the College Area, Mt. Helix, Spring Valley, Santee as well as La Mesa, meets the first Wednesday of each month at the La Mesa Community Center at 4975 Memorial Dr. at University Avenue.

In our ongoing series exploring the effects of global climate change, greenhouse gases causing massive and catastrophic effects to our weather and environment, Admiral Hering should be a whole new source of great information for us.

Rear Admiral Leendert “Len” Hering Sr. (U.S. Navy, retired), is a prominent military and civilian sustainability leader with a broad background in energy and environmental issues. His passion in sustainability is educating people on the dangers the future holds without taking responsible actions to secure the nation’s energy independence and to preserve water, air quality and other resources.

A native of Portsmouth, Va., Hering retired from the Navy in 2009 after more than 32 years of service. He was noted as one of the Navy’s top experts in base operations and facility support with an emphasis on sustainability and the environment.

While in the Navy, Hering’s efforts included everything from renewable energy to responsible water use and conservation. He built a team recognized throughout the Department of Defense as the best in environmental protection and sustainable innovation. Within three years, the team reduced energy consumption by nearly 42%, diverted 75% of Navy waste from landfills and reduced water consumption by more than one billion gallons, saving tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. Hering instigated wind, thermal, photovoltaic and conversion technology at all levels in Navy facilities. President Bush awarded Hering a 2005 Presidential Award for Leadership in Federal Energy Management in recognition of efforts reducing oil spills and for recycling.

In 2009, Hering joined the University of San Diego, where as vice president for business services and administration he initiated numerous sustainable measures on the campus. Within the two years he served, USD installed the largest solar system of any private campus in the country, instituted the most comprehensive water abatement project in the school’s history and reformed numerous business practices to help control costs. His efforts resulted in saving more that 3 million gallons of water per year and more than $1 million in electrical costs.

Hering’s endeavors include founding what is now the largest sustainability business partnership in San Diego County, the San Diego Regional Sustainability Partnership, a consortium of business, government, academic and community organizations promoting practices that support a sustainable future for the region.  He now heads the Center for Sustainable Energy in Kearny Mesa.

A nonprofit social enterprise, CSE has facilitated 44,000 energy projects for consumers, businesses and governments. Through their market outreach and technical and policy expertise, over 130,000 people have been directly served by CSE programs.  CSE areas of expertise include clean transportation, distributed generation, building performance, energy efficiency, energy storage and renewable energy. They work with energy policy makers, regulators, federal, state and local governments, utilities, public agencies and business. Together, they are the catalysts for sustainable energy market development and transformation.  If you are thinking of putting solar panels on your roof, attend a free CSE workshop to learn all the do’s and don’ts. They’ll even give you lunch!

Before our June Meeting, on Saturday, May 30th, the LMFDC will once again be a participant in the annual La Mesa Flag Day Parade, a couple mile walk through the heart of La Mesa escorting many of our local and civic leaders.  As usual, President Obama will be leading our contingent in a special convertible, and our very professional Secret Service detail.  Don’t miss this fun event, and visit our website for time and meeting specifics.

And a quick heads up to mark your calendar for our return to Mission Trails Regional Park.  Our July 1st meeting will be our Annual Independence Day Celebration on the patio of the beautiful MTRP Interpretive Center.  We’ll again be providing dinner, some very special speakers, a silent auction, and beer and wine tasting on the patio.  And we’ll feature our now famous pie baking contest!  It’s an event that our members turned out in large numbers for last year, and this year will be even better.  More details to follow, but note that the evening of July 1st will be a special evening for our entire Democratic community!

View our new and improved website at, and like us on Facebook.  Come to our June Meeting and hear Adm. Len Hering, and learn about steps you can take right now to save our imperiled planet.  Social hour is at 6:30 PM, and all are welcome to join us for refreshments and camaraderie.

Linda Armacost, Ed.D. President

La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club

Rafael Castellanos to discuss the State of the Port of San Diego in 2018 at the March General Meeting

Posted by Mission Times Courier: February 9th, 2018 | Columns, Featured, La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club By Yahairah Aristy and Jeff Benesch

At the February meeting of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club (LMFDC), we learned about the many details of the competing ballot measures on the future of the stadium site in Mission Valley. While many of us live in close proximity to either Mission Valley or SDSU, virtually all county residents are affected by what happens to the large plot of land many of us still refer to as the “Q.”

And we’re following up that wonderful teaching moment with another on Wednesday, March 7, at 7 p.m. — one that we’ll refer to as a “State of the Port” with new Port Chairperson Rafael Castellanos. And like the stadium forum, this one will also feature a key ballot measure, yet another referendum on the expansion of the Convention Center.

And while there are many countywide areas of interest, few are more impactful than the Unified Port District and its hundreds of tenants and near-shore neighbors with powerful influence on our daily lives. Do you use the airport? Attend games and events at Petco Park? Comic-Con? Conventions at the Convention Center? Go to dinner or shop in Seaport Village or Liberty Station? Ex-Navy or Marines in the family that trained at MCRD or NTC? How about cruise ships, the Midway, the Embarcadero, Summer Pops, Spanish Landing, Coronado Tidelands or South Bay coastal parks? Affected by the thousands of tons of non-container cargo that comes into our 10th Avenue Marine Terminal every month? Cars, bananas or pineapples anyone? You get the idea. Everyone is greatly affected by our stewardship of the Port of San Diego and the economic and tourism engine that it drives.

And what exquisite timing for Chairperson Castellanos to appear: A bond measure is headed to the November ballot about Convention Center expansion; the port is still leading the way towards a countywide climate action plan (with electric loading vehicles being used on the docks); the airport is continuing its expansion (with international terminal renovation and parking structure completion this year); homelessness and the hep A outbreak are centered on Port District lands; and public access to bayfront lands, parks and views are a frequent battle between developers and environmental groups.

In addition to being the Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners of the Unified Port of San Diego, Castellanos is also chair of the Port’s Environmental Advisory Committee. Chairman Castellanos’ theme for 2018 is “Ocean Optimism,” which is the belief that the ocean economy, also known as the Blue Economy, is one of the San Diego region’s greatest sources of opportunity. The region is known for its innovation, but much of its success has been directed eastward, away from the ocean. The 21st century is also about looking west, at the swelling importance of the Blue Economy’s aquaculture, blue technology, and alternative energy industries. If we’re successful, then just like the Santa Clara Valley came to be known as the Silicon Valley, perhaps one day the San Diego Bay will come to be known as the “Blue Technology Bay.”



Thoughts on Inauguration Day 2017

They Thought They Were Free

The Germans, 1933-45

But then it was too late:

I first literally first heard of the book They Thought They Were Free, a study of the lives of a group of ordinary Germans under the Third Reich, by Milton Meyer, when Thom Hartmann read excerpts on his radio show. The Germans interviewed had ‘ordinary’ jobs one was a professor for example. The subjects were not part of the military nor government and told their stories as observers not participants I think this is such an important book and Meyer’s accounts of folks ‘waking up and being under a Fascist regime; are harrowing for two reasons; 1. Fascism’s complete control of Germany was done bit by bit, a slow insidious process of rules and changes that seemed benign individually. By the time these Germans ‘caught on’, it was too late. 2. We are witnessing the very same sort of ‘Fascism Creep’ right now, and we had better pay attention and work like hell to prevent it!

Hartmann; “One of his closing chapters, “Peoria Uber Alles,” is so poignant and prescient that were Mayer still alive today I doubt he could read it out loud without his voice breaking. It’s the story of how what happened in Germany could just as easily happen in Peoria, Illinois, particularly if the city were to become isolationistic and suffered some sort of natural or man-made disaster or attack that threw its people into the warm but deadly embrace of authoritarianism. [President Trump’s election]

The [Peorian] individual surrenders his individuality without a murmur, without, indeed, a second thought – and not just his individual hobbies and tastes, but his individual occupation, his individual family concerns, his individual needs. The primordial community, the tribe, re-emerges, it’s first function the preservation of all its members. Every normal personality of the day becomes an ‘authoritarian personality.’ A few recalcitrants have to be disciplined (vigorously, under the circumstances) for neglect or betrayal of their duty. A few groups have to be watched or, if necessary, taken in hand – the antisocial elements, the liberty-howlers, the agitators among the poor, and the criminal gangs. For the rest of the citizens – 95 percent or so of the population – duty is now the central fact of life. They obey, at first awkwardly, but, surprisingly soon, spontaneously

Among Mayer’s stories are some of the most telling aspects of how the Nazis came to take over Germany (and much of Europe). I first quoted them a year ago in a Common Dreams article linked from BuzzFlash titled The Myth of National Victimhood*. I noted that Mayer told how one of his friends said:

What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security….

As a friend of Mayer’s noted, and Mayer recorded in his book:

This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter. …

To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it – please try to believe me – unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, “regretted,” that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these “little measures” that no “patriotic German” could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.

In this conversation, Mayer’s friend suggests that he wasn’t making an excuse for not resisting the rise of the fascists, but simply pointing out an undisputable reality. This, he suggests, is how fascism will always take over a nation.

“Pastor Niemoller spoke for the thousands and thousands of men like me when he spoke (too modestly of himself) and said that, when the Nazis attacked the Communists, he was a little uneasy, but, after all, he was not a Communist, and so he did nothing: and then they attacked the Socialists, and he was a little uneasier, but, still, he was not a Socialist, and he did nothing; and then the schools, the press, the Jews, and so on, and he was always uneasier, but still he did nothing. And then they attacked the Church, and he was a Churchman, and he did something – but then it was too late.”

“Yes,” I said.

“You see,” my colleague went on, “one doesn’t see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for the one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even to talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ Why not? – Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.

“Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, everyone is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there will be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, ‘It’s not so bad’ or ‘You’re seeing things’ or ‘You’re an alarmist.’

“And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can’t prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don’t know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. …

“But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and the smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked – if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in ’43 had come immediately after the ‘German Firm’ stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in ’33. But of course this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.

“And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying ‘Jew swine,’ collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in – your nation, your people – is not the world you were in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God.” …

Mayer’s friend pointed out the terrible challenge faced then by average Germans, and today by peoples across the world, as governments are taken over by authoritarian, corporatist — fascist — regimes.

“How is this to be avoided, among ordinary men, even highly educated ordinary men?” Mayer’s friend asked rhetorically. And, without the benefit of a previous and recent and well-remembered fascistic regime to refer to, he had to candidly answer: “Frankly, I do not know.”

This was the great problem that Mayer’s Nazis and so many in their day faced.

As Mayer’s Nazi friend noted, “I do not see, even now [how we could have stopped it]. Many, many times since it all happened I have pondered that pair of great maxims, Principiis obsta and Finem respice – ‘Resist the beginnings’ and ‘consider the end.’ But one must foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings. One must foresee the end clearly and certainly and how is this to be done, by ordinary men or even by extraordinary men?”

By Robert Kagan Fascism comes to America

Robert Kagan is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a contributing columnist for The Post.

The Republican Party’s attempt to treat Donald Trump as a normal political candidate would be laughable were it not so perilous to the republic. If only he would mouth the party’s “conservative” principles, all would be well.

Of course the entire Trump phenomenon has nothing to do with policy or ideology. It has nothing to do with the Republican Party, either, except in its historic role as incubator of this singular threat to our democracy. Trump has transcended the party that produced him. His growing army of supporters no longer cares about the party. Because it did not immediately and fully embrace Trump, because a dwindling number of its political and intellectual leaders still resist him, the party is regarded with suspicion and even hostility by his followers. Their allegiance is to him and him alone.

And the source of allegiance? We’re supposed to believe that Trump’s support stems from economic stagnation or dislocation. Maybe some of it does. But what Trump offers his followers are not economic remedies — his proposals change daily. What he offers is an attitude, an aura of crude strength and machismo, a boasting disrespect for the niceties of the democratic culture that he claims, and his followers believe, has produced national weakness and incompetence. His incoherent and contradictory utterances have one thing in common: They provoke and play on feelings of resentment and disdain, intermingled with bits of fear, hatred and anger. His public discourse consists of attacking or ridiculing a wide range of “others” — Muslims, Hispanics, women, Chinese, Mexicans, Europeans, Arabs, immigrants, refugees — whom he depicts either as threats or as objects of derision. His program, such as it is, consists chiefly of promises to get tough with foreigners and people of nonwhite complexion. He will deport them, bar them, get them to knuckle under, make them pay up or make them shut up.

To understand how such movements take over a democracy, one only has to watch the Republican Party today. These movements play on all the fears, vanities, ambitions and insecurities that make up the human psyche. In democracies, at least for politicians, the only thing that matters is what the voters say they want — vox populi vox Dei. A mass political movement is thus a powerful and, to those who would oppose it, frightening weapon. When controlled and directed by a single leader, it can be aimed at whomever the leader chooses. If someone criticizes or opposes the leader, it doesn’t matter how popular or admired that person has been. He might be a famous war hero, but if the leader derides and ridicules his heroism, the followers laugh and jeer. He might be the highest-ranking elected guardian of the party’s most cherished principles. But if he hesitates to support the leader, he faces political death

This is how fascism comes to America, not with jackboots and salutes (although there have been salutes, and a whiff of violence) but with a television huckster, a phony billionaire, a textbook egomaniac “tapping into” popular resentments and insecurities, and with an entire national political party — out of ambition or blind party loyalty, or simply out of fear — falling into line behind him.

And here we are.

*Eugene Robinson: Myth of white victimhood continues to gain strength

WASHINGTON — If there really were a “war on whites,” as a Republican congressman from Alabama ludicrously claims, it wouldn’t be going very well for the anti-white side.

In 2012, the last year for which comprehensive Census Bureau data are available, white households had a median income of $57,009, compared to $33,321 for African-American households and $39,005 for Hispanic households. The white-black income gap was almost exactly the same as in 1972; the gap between whites and Hispanics actually worsened.

According to an analysis by the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, the average white family has six times as much accumulated wealth as the average black or Hispanic family. Other authoritative data show that African-Americans and Hispanics are far more likely than whites to be unemployed, impoverished or incarcerated.

Yet Rep. Mo Brooks feverishly imagines whites are somehow under attack and that the principal assailant is — why am I not surprised? — President Obama.

Asked whether Republicans were alienating Latino voters with their position on immigration, Brooks said this to conservative radio host Laura Ingraham:

“This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else. It’s a part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things.”

Author, Milton Mayer, reared in Reform Judaism, was born in Chicago, the son of Morris Samuel Mayer and Louise (Gerson). He graduated from Englewood High School, where he received a classical education with an emphasis on Latin and languages.[1] He studied at the University of Chicago (1925–28) but did not earn a degree

Mayer’s most influential book was probably They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45, a study of the lives of a group of ordinary Germans under the Third Reich, first published in 1955 by the University of Chicago Press. (Mayer became a member of the Religious Society of Friends or Quakers while he was researching this book in Germany in 1950; he did not reject his Jewish birth and heritage.) At various times, he taught at the University of Chicago, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Louisville as well as universities abroad. He was also a consultant to the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.


What can we do-The Indivisible Guide


We: Are former progressive congressional staffers who saw the Tea Party beat back President Obama’s agenda.

We: See the enthusiasm to fight the Trump agenda and want to share insider info on how best to influence Congress to do that.

You: Want to do your part to beat back the Trump agenda and understand that will require more than calls and petitions.

You: Should use this guide, share it, amend it, make it your own, and get to work.

Donald Trump is the biggest popular vote loser in history to ever call himself President- Elect. In spite of the fact that he has no mandate, he will attempt to use his congressional majority to reshape America in his own racist, authoritarian, and corrupt image. If progressives are going to stop this, we must stand indivisibly opposed to Trump and the members of Congress (MoCs) who would do his bidding. Together, we have the power to resist — and we have the power to win.

We know this because we’ve seen it before. The authors of this guide are former congressional staffers who witnessed the rise of the Tea Party. We saw these activists take on a popular president with a mandate for change and a supermajority in Congress. We saw them organize locally and convince their own MoCs to reject President Obama’s agenda. Their ideas were wrong, cruel, and tinged with racism — and they won.

We believe that protecting our values, our neighbors, and ourselves will require mounting a similar resistance to the Trump agenda — but a resistance built on the values of inclusion, tolerance, and fairness. Trump is not popular. He does not have a mandate. He does not have large congressional majorities. If a small minority in the Tea Party can stop President Obama, then we the majority can stop a petty tyrant named Trump.

To this end, the following chapters offer a step-by-step guide for individuals, groups, and organizations looking to replicate the Tea Party’s success in getting Congress to listen to a small, vocal, dedicated group of constituents. The guide is intended to be equally useful for stiffening Democratic spines and weakening pro-Trump Republican resolve.

We believe that the next four years depend on Americans across the country standing indivisible against the Trump agenda. We believe that buying into false promises or accepting partial concessions will only further empower Trump to victimize us and our neighbors. We hope that this guide will provide those who share that belief useful tools to make Congress listen.


Here’s the quick and dirty summary of this document. While this page summarizes top-level takeaways, the full document describes how to actually carry out these activities.

CHAPTER 1 How grassroots advocacy worked to stop President Obama. We examine lessons from the Tea Party’s rise and recommend two key strategic components:

  1. A local strategy targeting individual Members of Congress (MoCs).
  1. A defensive approach purely focused on stopping Trump from implementing an agenda built on racism, authoritarianism, and corruption.


CHAPTER 2 How your MoC thinks — reelection, reelection, reelection — and how to use that to save democracy. MoCs want their constituents to think well of them and they want good, local press. They hate surprises, wasted time, and most of all, bad press that makes them look weak, unlikable, and vulnerable. You will use these interests to make them listen and act.

CHAPTER 3 Identify or organize your local group. Is there an existing local group or network you can join? Or do you need to start your own? We suggest steps to help mobilize your fellow constituents locally and start organizing for action.

CHAPTER 4 Four local advocacy tactics that actually work. Most of you have three MoCs — two Senators and one Representative. Whether you like it or not, they are your voices in Washington. Your job is to make sure they are, in fact, speaking for you. We’ve identified four key opportunity areas that just a handful of local constituents can use to great effect. Always record encounters on video, prepare questions ahead of time, coordinate with your group, and report back to local media:

  1. Town halls. MoCs regularly hold public in-district events to show that they are listening to constituents. Make them listen to you, and report out when they don’t.
  2. Non-town hall events. MoCs love cutting ribbons and kissing babies back home. Don’t let them get photo-ops without questions about racism, authoritarianism, and corruption.
  3. District office sit-ins/meetings. Every MoC has one or several district offices. Go there. Demand a meeting with the MoC. Report to the world if they refuse to listen.
  1. Coordinated calls. Calls are a light lift but can have an impact. Organize your local group to barrage your MoCs at an opportune moment about and on a specific


Examining the President-Elect’s Constitutional and Immigration Dilemmas

Dems Examine Constitutional, Immigration Issues

President-elect Presents Conflict of Interest Dilemma

ACLU Director And Marjorie Cohn to Headline January Meeting

Author, Activist and Law Professor Marjorie Cohn will headline the January 4th meeting of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club. Marjorie is now Professor Emerita after a quarter century of teaching Constitutional Law and we are thrilled with the prospect of her examining the inherent conflicts that arise when a president elect doesn’t disassociate from his business interests while in office.   We’ve also never before had a chief executive not release his tax returns, thus failing to disclose his company’s foreign entanglements and potential conflicts of interest on a global scale. Marjorie will also discuss her recent article on the prospects and consequences of a Trump-appointed Supreme Court.

We are also honored to have ACLU Advocacy Director David Trujillo speaking about social justice and civil rights for immigrants and minorities during a Donald Trump presidency. Recently, the ACLU lauded California lawmakers for standing by immigrant communities in the face of future federal executive orders that would endanger them. (Mass deportations? Internment Camps?, Deportation squads?)



Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law where she taught from 1991-2016, and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild. She lectures, writes, and provides commentary for local, regional, national and international media outlets. Professor Cohn has served as a news consultant for CBS News and a legal analyst for Court TV, as well as a legal and political commentator on BBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, and Pacifica Radio.

David Trujillo has spent his career working on issues of social justice and has years of experience in community organizing, political campaigns and the legislative process. Prior to joining the San Diego ACLU, Trujillo served as Planned Parenthood Northern California’s public affairs director. Trujillo helped pass legislation that made California the only state in the country in the last five years to expand access to birth control and abortion services. Trujillo grew up in San Diego and has a degree in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.

With each Trump Cabinet nomination, local Democrats are alarmed at the potential back-sliding of civil liberties, social justice, environmental protections, public school education, workplace safety, wage and pension protections, banking regulation, women’s reproductive rights, affordable healthcare, middle class housing and job opportunities, income equality, Medicaid and Social Security protection, immigrant rights, and most other progressive ideals that we’ve supported and nurtured for decades. Instead of reforming Washington, DC as promised in campaign rhetoric, we’ve seen a succession of Wall Street insiders, big money donors, military mavericks, anti-science and climate change denying elected officials, fast food and professional wrestling executives, anti-union and working class enemies, anti-semitic bigots and hate mongering fake news purveyors, and fossil fuel industry proponents and lobbyists put into the highest positions of power and influence. Instead of “draining the swamp”, we’ve seen a progression of very wealthy alligators nominated for and appointed to cabinet posts and White House advisory positions.

We’ll begin our 48 months of protest and activism with a campaign to WRITE, ADVOCATE and RESIST these ultra-conservative demagogues in the best way we know how. By peacefully and stridently gathering together to spread truth, education, and social action, we can protect our communities, our planet and our children’s futures from the mindless onslaught of greed and neo-conservatism. We’ll begin with 2 excellent social justice advocates and continue with four years of outstanding programming that you’ll not want to miss. If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. Join the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club, which serves the communities of La Mesa, the College area, San Carlos, Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, Mt. Helix, Santee, Spring Valley, Casa de Oro and other nearby East County enclaves.

We meet the first Wednesday of each month at the spacious La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, just North of University Avenue. Our meetings begin with a 6:30 PM Social time with refreshments and drinks provided by the club membership. The programs and business meetings start at 7 PM and last about 90 minutes. We are just beginning our 2017 membership drive and new memberships are available for as little at $30 annually. All members and guests are welcomed at all meetings and other community events which are listed on our website at, and visit our Facebook page for updates.