Join us for the Flag Day Parade!

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Join the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club and march with La Mesa City Councilmember Colin Parent, club members, elected officials and Democratic candidates in the 2018 La Mesa Flag Day Parade!

The theme is “Riding the Big Blue Wave,” so be sure to wear blue. And don’t forget sunscreen and a hat. Staging for the parade begins at 8am and the parade kicks off at 10am.

We’ll meet at the BLUE staging area around the La Mesa Community Complex on Memorial Drive at La Mesa Blvd. Parking will be tight, so either car pool to the drop off point or park along La Mesa Blvd., from Jackson Drive West, and walk to the Community Center.

More information about the parade: La Mesa 2018 Flag Day Parade

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June meeting: Learn about the border wall and recap the 2018 elections!

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Join the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club Wednesday June 6 for a double-header event at our monthly meeting.

First, we’ll hear about the border wall: Why it’s a bad idea and what else we should be doing.

The La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club welcomes Dr. Larry Herzog to our June 6 meeting. A noted professor in the city planning program in the School of Public Affairs at San Diego State University, he is also a consultant and writer specializing in planning, sustainable development and urban design in the United States, Mexico and Latin America. In a March 2018 op-ed published in Voice of San Diego titled “Trump’s Border Wall Is a Symbol – And Symbols Make Terrible Policy,” Dr. Herzog asserts that the “money needed to fulfill the president’s campaign promise would be better spent on cross-border infrastructure that boosts trade and facilitates the economy.” In fact, Dr. Herzog continues, the “wall is a metaphor for shielding America from outside threats and uncertainty.” Dr. Herzog will expand on this theory and discuss how building a wall, in combination with continued xenophobic rhetoric and pressure from Trump on NAFTA, will adversely affect our billion dollar commercial and social compact with our numerous Latin American allies and trading partners. Also an accomplished photographer, Dr. Herzog has participated in group and individual exhibitions in Mexico and the U.S

Next, we’ll recap the midterm primary results.

We’ll also have the honor of hearing our own Vice President for Political Action, Chris Pearson, recap the Primary results and give us the “whys and wherefores” about the winners and losers and who survived through to the November General Election. Several of our endorsed candidates will learn their fate by primary results alone, so this should be an interesting discussion.

The LMFDC meets the first Wednesday of every month at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, just north of University Avenue. Our meetings begin with a half-hour social at 6:30 p.m. followed by the business meeting and speakers beginning promptly at 7 p.m. See you there!

Our Upcoming “Dunkin’ Hunter” Panel Just Got Better!

We’ve got two great new additions to “Dunkin’ Hunter: Replacing a Corrupt Congressman,” our all-star panel Wednesday – that’s just a couple of days away!

Michael Smolens, political columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune, will discuss the political climate of the race.

And we’ll be joined by Matt Strabone, an attorney specializing in dark money and misuse of campaign funds. Matt is endorsed by the club and the county Democrats as a candidate for county clerk/assessor/recorder.

Also on the panel: Ammar Campa-Najjar, the Democrats’ challenger for Hunter’s seat, and Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, a Democratic Party activist who became famous as lead singer of the oldies group, Sha Na Na.

Should be a great panel – looking forward to seeing you there Wednesday evening at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive. Social time starts at 6:30 pm, and programming at 7 pm.

Previously: At Our May Meeting: Dunkin’ Hunter: Replacing a Corrupt Congressman

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.

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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 www.campacampaign.com

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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.

Update: Two new additions to the panel! Michael Smolens, political columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune, and Matt Strabone, attorney specializing in dark money and misuse of campaign funds, as well as Democratic candidate for county clerk/assessor/recorder. More here: Our upcoming “Dunkin’ Hunter” panel just got better!

 

Russia probe, human trafficking to highlight April 4 meeting

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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 lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub.com.

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

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.”

 

 

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 lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub.com.

 

Linda Armacost, President

Jeff Benesch, VP Programming