Local coronavirus updates | Meeting cancellation | Local elections

Greetings fellow La Mesa Democrats, friends and family: We hope you’re healthy, doing well in these troubling times, and have plenty of toilet paper. (But don’t hoard. Save some squares for the rest of us.)

April 1 meeting cancelled: It’ll come as no surprise to you that we’ve canceled the regular general monthly meeting, which had been scheduled for April 1. We’re looking forward to seeing you again when the crisis abates.

Looking ahead: Democracy continues in the face of the pandemic. Our March 4 general meeting was great — we were joined by San Diego County Democratic Party chair Will Rodriguez-Kennedy and former chairs Jessica Hayes and Jess Durfee, to break down the outcome of the California primary, which was the day before the meeting.

The host was Matt Strabone, local attorney and pundit and friend of the club. Matt’s doughty producer recorded the audio of the meeting, and you can listen to it on Matt’s podcast, Show in Progress With Matt Strabone. Good listening during this time of social distancing!

Was that meeting only two weeks ago? Amazing! Another era.

Good thing Matt and his producer got that recording, too — our own efforts to stream video of the event failed completely. We were not even able to get a video recording for posting later, which we have been doing recently on our YouTube channel (which you should absolutely subscribe to if you have not already; we have three videos up of our past great meetings, with more to come!)

Coronavirus news you can use: We’ve begun using the club’s Internet channels to get out news and information for members and their friends and family. These include:

Twitter: @lmfdems

Facebook: @lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub

Less frequent updates to the website, particularly the blog (which you’re looking at now)

And of course our email newsletter this mailblast, which will be more frequent than it has been (possibly several times a week, but maybe less than that, and certainly no more than 1x/day — we’ll see what seems appropriate.)

The focus will be on local news and news and information you can use and might have missed.

And anyone is welcome to subscribe and follow us; you don’t need to be a Democrat.


News you can use:

Coronavirus Self-Quarantine Will Likely Exacerbate Elderly Isolation – KPBS: If you’re not elderly and isolated yourself, check in with your neighbors who might be, if you can. But maintain that social distance!

San Diego Food Banks Prioritize Meals For Seniors As Coronavirus Increases Demand – KPBS

These restaurants in East County are offering take-out and/or delivery – East County Magazine

Looking for a way to pass the time during social isolation? You can get an e-book from the San Diego Public Library, notes San Diego Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, Democrat.

Prefer your books in paper form? The San Diego County libraries offer curbside book pickup during the pandemic – Times of San Diego

Mr. Fletcher also collaborated to launch the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response fund, “administered by the San Diego Foundation … and seeded with $1 million from SDG&E…. Grant funding will focus on three critical areas: food security, rental and utility assistance, and income replacement or gap funding. One hundred percent of donations will go to organizations helping San Diegans impacted by the health crisis.”

The City of La Mesa is opening up a limited number of five-minute parking spaces in the downtown village area for restaurants offering take-out service.

Mr. Fletcher says San Diego County has procured 1,472 motel rooms for people who have tested positive for Covid-19 or are exhibiting symptoms but don’t have a safe place to stay, including homeless San Diegans, seniors or people who live in group settings.

California Coastal Commission Chairman Steve Padilla, who’s also a member of the Chula Vista City Council, has been diagnosed with Covid-19 – he says it’s like the worst flu he ever had. If you’re sick, your experience may not be the same as Mr. Padilla’s — some people report mild symptoms and 18% have no symptoms at all.

The La Mesa Police Department lobby may be closed, but the police are still hard at work. Police may wear gloves, masks and other protective equipment when appropriate.

Neighbors helping neighbors:

Acts of kindness in San Diego amid coronavirus – CBS8: San Diegans offering to run errands through social media site Nextdoor

San Diego Community Volunteers for Coronavirus Response: A Facebook group where you can volunteer or ask for help. From the group: 5 Major Resources

Another community volunteer group: We All We Got SD Twitter: @weallwegotsd

Sara Jacobs, Democratic US Congressional candidate in local CA-53, provides tips on what you can do. And three more

`Information resources:

California’s Covid-19 site. (Via Sen. Toni Atkins)

How to Clean and Disinfect Yourself, Your Home, and Your stuff

Take the census online. The deadline is coming up. The Census makes sure we get our share of federal services and representation.

And finally:

Officers from the La Mesa Police Department stopped by the long line of shoppers waiting to enter the La Mesa CostCo and brought Starbucks coffee.

Let’s roll: San Marcos Couple Hopes to Wipe Away Stress With Toilet Paper – Times of San Diego: Claire and Parsegh Oksayan of San Marcos, owners of The Rush Coffee, a coffee truck, scored 96 extra rolls of toilet paper through their connections in the hospitality industry.

The duo, along with their children, took to the streets of San Marcos on Tuesday evening and left a roll of toilet paper at each doorstep. The toilet paper was packaged inside a gift bag with a note attached stating, “Hello Neighbor. We just wanted to say that we are thinking about you and are here to help if you need anything.”

The note ends with the couple’s contact information and a Bible verse.

Thats it for today people. Stay healthy, be brave, and look out for each other.

Join us Wednesday: In person if you can, virtually if not

We’re trying something different for Wednesday’s meeting: We’re going to try to stream live video of the meeting over the Internet, using Twitter specifically. If all goes well, just go to the club Twitter account, which is here:


tomorrow – Wednesday, March 4 – at 7 pm, and you can watch the proceedings live.

You don’t need to create a Twitter account.

We’ll be talking with a panel of local experts and luminaries to break down and analyze the primary results, with a focus on local races and what it means to our members. Find out more about the meeting, and other club goings-on, on our blog: Meeting Wednesday | Unity breakfast | RIP club co-founder Beverly Cassirer

Some of you may remember that we streamed meetings live in 2018 through early 2019 on Facebook, but that wasn’t working. Hopefully, this will work. Help us with the experiment, and let us know how it goes; email me at mitch@mitchwagner.com.

It’s better to actually come to the meeting of course; you get to meet with your fellow Democrats, see the presentations live, and enjoy our delicious snacks (love those turkey roll-ups!). But we know that many of you can’t make it in person; hopefully this will be an alternative.

Social time starts at 6:30 pm, programming at 7 pm, and the location is the spacious La Mesa Community Center at 4975 Memorial Dr. in La Mesa – everyone is welcome!

Meeting Wednesday | Unity breakfast | RIP club co-founder Beverly Cassirer

Greetings, La Mesa Democrats! We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today: Our monthly meeting is Wednesday, the day after the primary, and we’ll break down the results then and there with a panel of experts. Then join us Friday for a unity breakfast featuring (former) rival primary candidates in San Diego Board of Supervisor District 3, uniting to support the general election candidate. And we say good-bye to club founder Beverly Cassirer.

After the primary: Our next meeting, Wednesday, comes on the heels of the California primary election. We’re convening a panel of experts to talk about what the voting means for advancing Democratic causes and candidates on the local, state and national level.

For the first time in recent political history, California’s quadrennial primary election will have a significant bearing on the Presidential race. Our state is the biggest in Super Tuesday and by the time voting closes, the delegate count and prospective leadership should be in much sharper focus.

Additionally, we have many local races of interest, including Congress, county, San Diego City Council, and more.

Join us Wednesday evening — in person if you can and on streaming online video if you can’t make it in person — , when the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will lean on a team of experts to give us their best analysis of the ballot results, why certain races trended the way they did, and who will face whom on the November ballot. We’ve confirmed the appearance of the head of the County Democratic Party, Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, who should have keen insights as to what went right or wrong for certain local candidates and whether county party-endorsed candidates and measures succeeded per slate recommendations.

Additionally, we’ve lined up the services of talented lawyer and pundit Matt Strabone to moderate our discussion. If you’ve caught Matt’s regular podcast, Show in Progress, you know he’s got a keen sense of the San Diego political scene and is a skilled interviewer. And we invited popular past county chairs Jess Durfee and Jessica Hayes to weigh in on the national, state and regional races.

Our experts will weigh in on several important local races: In the 53d Congressional District, longtime Representative Susan Davis, a stalwart Democrat, is vacating her seat, and quite a few candidates are vying to take her place (speaking of which, check out the video of our January meeting, where we hosted a forum between six Democrats vying for Davis’s seat).

In the 50th District, where Republican incumbent Duncan Hunter stepped down and faces possible prison time for misusing campaign funds, Ammar Campa Najjar is the Democrat looking to pick up that seat, and the Republicans are in a hotly contested primary. Who will be Campa-Najjar’s November opponent?

We also have many local races of interest: county supervisor contests; county-wide measures A and B, which deal with building in the back country; and Convention Center expansion measure C, which also includes resources for infrastructure repair and homeless support.

Additionally, we’ll look at San Diego City Council races, the mayoral and city attorney elections, and races in the state Assembly and for judgeships.

The meeting starts at 6:30 pm for a half-hour social time featuring snacks, salads, desserts and beverages supplied by the club and member donations. The business starts at 7 pm and we generally adjourn by 8:30 PM. We meet on the first Wednesday of every month at the spacious La Mesa Community Center at 4975 Memorial Dr. in La Mesa and everyone is welcome. Our club draws from the communities of La Mesa, Allied Gardens, Santee, San Carlos, Del Cerro, the College Area, Mt. Helix, Casa de Oro and other nearby East County enclaves. We are in the midst of our 2020 membership drive with annual memberships starting at $35.00.

Jeff Benesch, VP, Programming

Tina Ryneberg, President

Democratic unity breakfast: Three days after the Primary Election, you’re invited to join San Diego County Democratic Party leaders as we rally to support the Democratic candidate for Board of Supervisors District 3 who will be continuing to a runoff in November. Both Democrats in that race have confirmed their attendance.

WHEN: Friday, March 6 — breakfast at 8:00 a.m., media event at 8:30 a.m.

WHERE: 3954 Murphy Canyon Road, Suite D100, San Diego 92123 (the building behind the Party’s new office)

Following this invitation-only meeting and breakfast, a press conference will be held featuring candidates Olga Diaz and Terra Lawson Remer; Party Chair Will Rodriguez-Kennedy; County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher; and other Party, labor, and community leaders.

RIP LMFDC founder Beverly Cassirer: It’s with a heavy heart that we convey the sad news that Beverly Cassirer passed away February 13, 2020. She was 6 days shy of her 100th birthday.

On August 24th, 1984 in conservative East San Diego County, a group of 22 Democrats decided it was time to make their voices heard and their views known. Although prophesied that it was impossible, fearless leaders Beverly and Claude Cassirer were undaunted, and so the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club was born. Our club was politely described as a “political discussion group,” and by 1986 it boasted a membership exceeding 120 people. In an interview at the time the Cassirers said that while members shared party affiliation, there was a diversity of opinions among the club’s ranks. The discussions, they said, often proved quite lively.

“Sometimes I wonder why the neighbors don’t call the police on us!” Cassirer said with a laugh.

Outside La Mesa, Beverly is best known for her fight to reclaim an impressionist painting that the Nazis stole from her family, and which is now hanging in a museum in Spain. The painting is valued at $30 million. She died while the court case to reclaim the painting is still ongoing.

Beverly touched so many people in her long life and is the reason we have the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club. She will be greatly missed.

The LA Times has more in an obituary, including a reproduction of the painting.

February meeting: Saving our coastal communities – and the world – from climate change

San Diego is in the crosshairs for flooding, extreme heat waves, fires and other damage wrought by climate change. The La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club will hear from local experts on the issue at our next meeting, Wednesday evening, Feb. 5.

We have invited an array of local climate action advocates to educate our members:

Nicole Capretz, Founder and Director of the Climate Action CampaignDonna Frye, Former San Diego City Council Person and pioneering environmentalistJennifer Campbell, San Diego City Council Person and head of the Council’s Environment CommitteeRafael Castellanos, past chair and current board member of the Port of San Diego and candidate for the coast-hugging Supervisory District 1Tommy Hough, Founder of Democrats for Environment Action and Campaign Director of ReWild Mission Bay,and Moderator Brian Elliott, former chair of the Sierra Club’s Political Action Committee

The danger is dire. “A nationwide study of rising sea levels due to climate change predicts it will cost $984 million to protect low-lying parts of San Diego County over the next 20 years. The report, released [in June] by the Washington, DC-based Center for Climate Integrity, predicts coastal communities in the lower 48 states face more than $400 billion in costs over the next 20 years,” according to the Times of San Diego.

Says San Diego Council Member Chris Ward: “All the reports say we are in for more extreme conditions. Extreme heat waves. Longer fire seasons. Crippling droughts. More frequent flooding. It’s a terrifying future to think about. We need bold and progressive solutions to help fight the climate crisis. The future of our children depend on it.”

With a month to go before the March California Primary, climate change is a critical issue. Elections have consequences, and the people we place in higher office can either further our climate action goals and help stem the dire consequences of fossil fuel extraction and production, or send us on an never-ending spiral of climate caused disasters.

We’ll discuss the issue at our next monthly meeting, at the usual time and place – first Wednesday of the month, Feb. 5 at 7 pm at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive in La Mesa. Join us at 6:30 pm for snacks and to meet your fellow Democrats and neighbors.

Our large and active club represents the communities of San Carlos, Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, La Mesa, College Area, Santee, Mt. Helix, Casa de Oro, Spring Valley and other close by areas. We meet the first Wednesday of each month at the spacious and newly refurbished La Mesa Community Center. Our social time begins at 6:30 PM with snacks, salads, desserts and beverages provided by the club membership. The business meeting starts promptly at 7 PM. We are starting our 2020 dues campaign with annual memberships starting at $35.

Jeff Benesch, VP of Programming

Tina Rynberg, President

Congressional Candidates Forum – join us Wednesday

Start off the New Year right – with a candidates forum: Join us for our Jan. 8 meeting – that’s Wednesday, day after tomorrow – for which we’ve invited 11 doughty Democrats who are vying to replace Rep. Susan Davis, of the 53rd District. Davis has done excellent work in Congress for nearly 20 years, but she’s not running for re-election, and that’s set off a bit of a scramble for her seat. 

Confirmed participants in the panel include the two most recognizable Democrats seeking Davis’s seat are San Diego City Council President Georgette Gomez, who recently garnered the endorsement of the California Democratic Party, and Sara Jacobs, who worked as a staffer in President Obama’s State Department. Other candidates also have excellent progressive bona fides, and work tirelessly for social and environmental justice in their communities.

Moderating the panel will be star journalist Mark Sauer, host of the KPBS Roundtable, which airs Fridays on radio and TV.  

It’s critical that we have a strong representative replacing Davis, to offset a corrupt Republican administration and its Congressional henchmen. And the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club – and you, its individual members – will play an outsized voice in that decision. Join us and hear the candidates make their case.

La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club represents the communities of La Mesa, San Carlos, Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, Santee, College Area, Mt. Helix, Casa de Oro, and other close by enclaves.  We meet on the first Wednesday of each month (except the next meeting, because that’s a holiday, so we moved the meeting to the 8th) at the spacious and newly remodeled La Mesa Community Center at 4975 Memorial Drive, just a few blocks from the Spring St. Exit of I-8 Eastbound.  Our doors open at 6:30 PM with a half hour social time featuring salads, snacks, beverages and desserts supplied by the club and its membership.  Dues are being collected in January, starting at only $35 per year. Silver and Gold memberships are also available for just a little more. (per person.)

View our website at  www.lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub.org , like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Bowzer’s back for our December meeting!

Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, by Gage Skidmore

Our annual holiday celebration is in the spirit of hope and optimism Wednesday, Dec. 4, with the return of Jon “Bowzer” Bauman. Jon is best known for his decades-long association with the oldies group Sha Na Na, he’s also politically active on elder issues, Social Security, Medicare and candidates and causes that protect the rights and welfare of our senior citizens. 

Jon is currently president of Social Security Works PAC, a national organization working to elect candidates who support protecting and expanding Social Security benefits.

He’s also an entertaining storyteller and a singer-musician with a wide range — pretty much the opposite of the musclebound meathead he portrayed in the 70s.

As is our annual tradition, we welcome all members and guests to enjoy our holiday feast, with turkey, ham, veggie entrees, and beverages supplied by the club. We encourage you to bring appetizers, side dishes, salads and deserts to share. Festivities start 6 pm Wednesday December 4, so get ready to share time with friends and family and enjoy our wonderful potluck dinner. We ask each member and guest to contribute a suggested donation of $10 to offset costs. 

We’ll meet at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive. Because of the overflow crowds for this annual event, we ask willing and able members to park by the Little League field and take the short walk up the stairs to the community center. Let’s leave the adjacent parking lot for those who need to be in close proximity to the meeting room.

As in past years, we also ask each member and guest to contribute to our annual holiday charities. Again this year, we are supporting the efforts of the Food Bank at Santa Sophia Church to feed needy families in the Casa de Oro area. Please bring canned and nonperishable foods that can help provide for the several hundred local families in need during the holiday season. The church also likes to give out “street-ready” foods such as high protein bars, fruit and nut snacks, and pop tarts. 

We also support the efforts of La Mesa United Methodist Church, which offers the city’s homeless citizens hot showers and other necessities. We ask that you bring some new, unused toiletries and/or gently used clothing for those who don’t take these items for granted. Shoes and new socks are particularly appreciated.

Lastly, we ask each member, and those who have not yet joined or renewed, to please pay our modest 2020 dues at our December meeting. It is only $35 for the whole year, and we still offer silver level memberships at $50, and gold level at $65 for those that can give a little more. Please bring cash or checks for our membership sign-ups and renewals.

Get out the vote: What are you doing the day after Thanksgiving? Help get the vote — join us for voter registration drives at Parkway Plaza and Grossmont Shopping Center on Black Friday. Contact Merrill mynylacat@gmail.com

And in January: Our January meeting will be Jan. 8, 2020, because the New Year’s holiday falls on Wednesday. Our January program will feature a forum for those Democrats seeking to replace Congress member Susan Davis in the 53rd Congressional District.

You can make a difference!

Are you frustrated about the direction of our country under the current administration? Are you tired of yelling at the TV? Would you like to actually help make a difference? The La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club is seeking members to join our Board of Directors. Our club’s goals for 2020 are to continue our outstanding monthly programs, register voters, remove religious extremists from local school boards, support candidates for local planning groups, water districts, and city councils. Each club member offers a new perspective and passion that will make our Board better. In addition to VP for Laws and Legislation, we are looking for members to assist with Public Relations, Social Media, Special Events, and Membership. Email Tina Rynberg, LMFDC President. lmfdemclub@gmail.com


Mitch Wagner
Communications and Social Media
La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club Board 

Join us Wednesday: Step on Up to Run for Office

Join us Wednesday for our next meeting, to learn about finding the next generation of candidates to run for office.

We’ll hear from County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, La Mesa City Council members Colin Parent and Dr. Akilah Weber, and Helix Water Board Director Mark Gracyk, sharing stories and strategies for running strong campaigns, for those aspiring to a career of public service for the common good.

“Step on up” is the theme of the Wednesday, Oct. 2 general meeting of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club. With the recent shocking news that 53rd District Congress member Susan Davis has decided to retire, her personal story carries a great lesson for those seeking public service. She started as a social worker, joined the League of Women Voters and became chapter president, nearly stumbled into a winning candidacy for San Diego School Board, and followed those offices with tenures in the California Assembly and a whopping 10 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives.

We are looking for the next generation of Susan Davises. To that end, we’re bringing you a great panel of young politicos who ran against Republicans in traditionally conservative districts, and managed very successful campaigns to break barriers. But the struggle hasn’t ended; ultra-conservative values are affecting policy and law on local school boards, water boards, planning groups, city councils, judgeships, and other government entities. People still get appointed to local school boards simply because of their church affiliation.

We must continue our fight for middle class values such as science, women’s health rights, criminal justice reform, climate action, sensible gun laws, affordable health care and economic equality. We need more affordable housing, transit choices, immigrant justice, stronger union representation, living wages, and an end to discrimination and hate in all sectors of public life. How do we get activists on all levels of local government who share these progressive ideals?

Our October general meeting will take place at our usual meeting location, the spacious and recently remodeled La Mesa Community Center at 4975 Memorial Drive in La Mesa. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. with social networking (the old-fashioned kind — face-to-face, in person) with snacks. Programming starts at 7 pm.

November and beyond

Mark your calendars for these great programs:

November 6th: Well-known professor and political pundit Ric Epps discusses US foreign policy missteps and the danger they represent in the powder keg that is the Middle East. Also, Club President Tina Rynberg will give an update on Go-team efforts and recruitment in the coming election year.

December 4th Holiday Party: Always a big favorite, join us for a pot luck feast, club charity giving, and top name entertainment (to be announced). Bring friends and family to help recruit new members.

Jan. 8th Meeting: Join us for a scintillating forum of great Democratic candidates looking to replace Congressperson Susan Davis.

Catch the Next Blue Wave

Come to the San Diego County Democratic Party East County Fundraiser for our 2020 Democratic Candidates, Thursday Oct. 3, 6:3-8:30 pm at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., featuring Rusty Hicks, chair of the California Democratic Party, with Richard Lederer’s fascinating facts about our Presidents. Admission: $35 contribution, $30 for students and seniors, $60 for couples. Sign up here: http://www.sddemocrats.org/east. Questions? Contact Bob Grand, (619) 334-4861, rgrand@att.net.

You can make a difference!

Are you frustrated about the direction of our country under the current administration? Are you tired of yelling at the TV? Would you like to actually help make a difference? The La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club is seeking members to join our Board of Directors. Our club’s goals for 2020 are to continue our outstanding monthly programs, register voters, remove religious extremists from local school boards, support candidates for local planning groups, water districts, and city councils. Each club member offers a new perspective and passion that will make our Board better. In addition to VP for Laws and Legislation, we are looking for members to assist with Public Relations, Social Media, Special Events, and Membership. Email Tina Rynberg, LMFDC President. lmfdemclub@gmail.com

Join us Wednesday: Reproductive Rights & Congressman Scott Peters!

Our next meeting is Wednesday, Sept. 4, and we’re excited to tell you about a recent addition to the agenda: Leticia Cazares, Vice-President of Board of American Civil Liberties Union, will join our program to talk about reproductive rights, particularly maintaining Planned Parenthood clinics in red states where they have become a diminishing resource for millions of American women.

Cazares joins Neil Ortiguerra, director of Political Action for Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest, on our programming.

We’ll also get an update from Congressman Scott Peters about impeachment, gun control, the environment and more.

The Sept. 4 meeting begins the usual time and place, 6:30 p.m. at La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, La Mesa, beginning with social networking (the old school kind, talking with other people in real life) and programming starts at 7 pm. Hope to see you there! 

About Leticia Cazares

Cazares is a Chula Vista native, with a long family and personal history of community service and public health advocacy. She’s dedicated over 20 years of her life and career to advancing the health and well-being of underrepresented and disadvantaged communities in San Diego, primarily in the South Bay.

Cazares is a newly elected member of the Southwestern Community College District board, but most of her career has been spent in nonprofit community health for San Ysidro Health (SYH) where she worked to increase access to health care for all, most recently leading a team, Covered California, that enrolled over 16,000 residents in Medi-Cal and low-cost health insurance plans throughout San Diego.

During her nearly 15 year tenure at SYH she developed and managed education and prevention programs in the areas of HIV/AIDS, developmental-behavioral pediatrics, women’s and senior health; worked to increase equity and diversity among her staff and organization; created systems and programs that were inclusive of staff and community voices and helped build cross-sector relationships with schools, community organizations and leaders, elected officials and faith groups.

She spent 17 years working with San Diego’s Center for Policy Initiatives, our own progressive activists’ think tank.

Leticia has over eight years of policy experience as current Vice President of the Board for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of San Diego & Imperial Counties, a city commissioner for the Chula Vista Cultural Arts Commission; and as a legislative aide for Congressional District 51 in the U.S. House of Representatives where she helped to draft legislation for the Veterans Affairs Health Subcommittee and met with constituents from the South Bay/Imperial County.

In her day job, Leticia is a lecturer at San Diego State University School of Public Health where she educates and advises students on public health career pathways and creates internship/professional development opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. She is also CEO to her small consulting business where she helps community organizations, leaders and women grow and transform their communities. She is currently working with arts and youth-serving organizations including the Old Globe, Outdoor Outreach and others. Recently, she was lead consultant on the development of the San Diego Rapid Response Network, a coordinated countywide network of organizations that educate, assist and defend immigrants and refugees.

About Neal Ortiguerras

Neal is director of Political Action for Planned Parenthood of the Southwest, and also representatives of NARAL, ProChoice America, and the local chapter of the ACLU. These organizations are three among many that work nationwide to provide and protect health services for women that may have few options in their family planning and obstetrical and gynecological care.

About Scott Peters

Peters serves the 52nd District of California, which covers much of central San Diego County including Poway, Coronado, and large portions of the city of San Diego. He is a member of the House Energy & Commerce and Budget committees. Peters is regional vice-chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), a role in which he helps lead the on-the-ground effort to fortify and expand our new Democratic majority. 

Atkins, Emerald, City Council Candidates’ Forum Highlight August Meeting

The August 7th meeting of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will feature the return of a pair of Club favorites, and a critical forum for the candidates running to replace Scott Sherman as the San Diego District 7 City Council Representative.

One of our speakers is California Senator Toni G. Atkins, perhaps the most powerful San Diego political voice in Sacramento, and another, Marti Emerald, was the first Democratic to win a District 7 election in decades when she overcame long odds to capture the seat in 2008.

The first speaker of the evening will be Atkins, President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Atkins began her tenure as an elected official by serving eight years on the San Diego City Council, representing District 3. During her second term, she became Acting Mayor, receiving accolades for leading the city through tumultuous times. In 2010, she was elected to the State Assembly, and in 2014 she was selected as Speaker of the Assembly – becoming the first Speaker from San Diego. In 2016, she was elected to the State Senate, representing the 39th District, which includes much of central and northern San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Early last year, her colleagues selected her as their leader, making her the first woman ever to lead the Senate and the first person since the 19th century to have led both houses of the Legislature. Senate Leader Atkins will be up for re-election in 2020.

The focus of Senate Leader Atkins’ remarks will be California’s 2019-20 budget and its impact on Californians. The $215 billion budget includes the highest level of K-12 funding in the state’s history, increases access to higher education without raising tuition, invests in affordable housing, expands wildfire prevention and emergency preparedness, increases health care coverage, expands the Earned Income Tax Credit to help struggling families, invests in programs to help people experiencing homelessness and provides tax cuts to small businesses – all while creating the most robust reserve in the state’s history. Atkins will also highlight some key bills currently being considered by the Legislature, including her own SB 1, the California Environment, Public Health and Workers Defense Act of 2019, which provides that any federal environmental or worker-safety standard in place and effective before January 22, 2017, shall remain in effect and be enforceable under California law even if the federal government rolls it back.

Ms. Emerald, who made her mark locally as the ever popular consumer advocate “Troubleshooter” on KGTV for more than 2 decades, parlayed that advocacy to an historic run for City Council in 2008, winning the District 7 seat which had been dominated by Republicans for many years. She won a second term on the City Council in 2012, this time in the newly formed District 9. To have Marti serve as our moderator for a panel of aspiring District 7 candidates is a terrific pairing. It will be fascinating to hear her experiences as a candidate as they relate to a new crop of impressive Democrats seeking to repeat her 2008 electoral success. To have this important swing District go back to Democratic hands will play a key role in maintaining, and maybe even increasing the progressive majority of forward thinkers on the City Council.

While it’s been apparent that Democrats look to further the interests of working people with a focus on livable wages, affordable housing, environmental, economic and social justice, communities of color, responsible policing and transparency in City Hall governance, conservative council members tend to favor the powerful interests of their donor base like developers, hoteliers, and special interest lobbyists, the “good-ole-boys” network, at the expense of the citizenry at large.

Our panel of candidates for District 7 represent a broad swath of backgrounds, advocacies, and community involvement.

Wendy Wheatcroft sports a 15-year long career as an elementary school teacher, a community advocate as a leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and was the founder of our country’s biggest local gun violence prevention coalition, San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention.

Raul Campillo, a native San Diegan and USD Grad, sandwiched a public school teaching career with a Harvard Law degree, an international law firm post, working for Hillary for America, and more recently, a job as Deputy City Attorney with the San Diego City Attorney’s office.

Sharon Larios is a Human Service Specialist with the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Department. Her broad background includes the Linda Vista Town Council and she was elected to the Linda Vista Planning Group. She’s also been a substance abuse counselor, Case Manager at the Door of Hope Transitional Housing Program, and Intake Specialist at Jewish Family Services.

Monty A. McIntyre, Esq. is a mediator, arbitrator and referee, Monty has been a California lawyer since 1980, a trained mediator since 1993, and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates since 1995. Monty served as the President of the San Diego County Bar Association in 2002.

David Greco, an honored Law School Graduate at USD, he was also Co-founder of Student Alliance for Equality (“SAFE”), high school’s first LGBT organization. His experience as a lawyer highlights his commitment to community, with a focus on helping employees and other vulnerable community members, such as people with disabilities.

The next meeting is the usual place and time – first Wednesday of the month, Aug. 7, with socializing and snacks at 6:30 pm and programming at 7. The location is the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr. just north of University Ave. in La Mesa. Please join us as a guest or become a member, with our modest annual dues starting at $30. As of July 1st, new members can join for as little as $15 each for the remainder of 2019.

March With Us on Flag Day!

Join your fellow Democrats, La Mesans and Americans to march in La Mesa’s Flag Day Parade. It’s Saturday, June 1. Arrive 9 am, at the Community Center Parking lot, 4975 Memorial Dr., walk or ride for about a mile, then off to Swami’s to talk about the parade and enjoy a delicious brunch with fellow Democrats. We’re looking for red, white or blue hybrid or electric vehicles to drive in the parade. It’s a low-key, friendly event, with plenty of time to socialize and catch up with your neighbors. Contact Suzy Perkins, suzyperk@hotmail.com 619-966-8178 to learn more and get involved.