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

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