October meeting: La Mesa City Council candidates, and our favorite epidemiologist

Join us for the October meeting of the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club, where we’ll meet Democratic candidates for La Mesa City Council, and talk with our favorite epidemiologist, Rebecca Fielding-Miller.

The meeting is 7 pm Wednesday, Oct. 6, on Zoom, with social time starting at 6:30 pm. Here’s the Zoom link

We’ll hear from three of the four Democratic candidates for the special election for La Mesa City Council. Patricia Dillard, Mejgan Afshan, and Kathleen Brand are vying against fellow Democrat Michelle Louden and Republicans. At stake is not just the one seat, but also the Democratic council majority, and La Mesa’s representation on the SANDAG, the San Diego Association of Governments, which serves as a forum for decision-making across the county, as well as representation on the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) to drive sensible regional transportation plans. If a Republican wins this seat, that’ll kneecap plans to mitigate climate change, and jeopardize police reform.

So this election is a big deal, with effects far beyond La Mesa borders.

Candidates who have agreed to speak at the meeting will be:

Patricia Dillard: La Mesa businesswoman, and minister’s wife, active in the Church of Christ and worker to advance women and minority owned businesses. She serves as vice chair of the Community Police Oversight Board for the City of La Mesa.

Mejgan Afshan: Civil rights advocate, community organizer, and non-profit co-founder. She co-founded Borderlands for Equity, pro-bono civil-rights nonprofit, and founder of the East County Justice Coalition, a group dedicated to addressing inequity and racial justice. She regularly conducts workshops about effective advocacy, coalition building, and dismantling misogyny.

Kathleen Brand is a senior planner for the city of San Diego who previously worked as a landscape architect, and a member of the La Mesa Community Services Commission, with a background in urban planning.

The fourth Democrat, Michelle Louden, is welcome to join us as well. She’s been invited, but we haven’t heard back from her. If you know Michelle, please put in a word—ask her to contact mitch@mitchwagner.com

Also joining is is Dr. Rebecca Fielding-Miller, to give us an update on the state of the pandemic.

Dr. Fielding-Miller is an epidemiologist working on COVID research at UCSD. She will with us about the state of the pandemic, how it’s hitting San Diego, what we are doing and should be doing, and the future outlook.

Prior to the pandemic, Dr. Fielding-Miller did interesting and important work in HIV and gender, in both the US and sub-Saharan Africa. She received her PHD in behavioral sciences and health education from Emory University in Atlanta, and a Masters of Science in Public Health in international health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.

It’s going to be great meeting and the only thing missing is you. Join us!

Revolting Republican recalls: Watch the video of our September meeting

Revolting Republican recalls: Watch the video of our September meeting

Dig under the surface on what’s happening with the Republican recall election against Gov. Gavin Newsom, with a panel of political powerhouse operatives, including:

  • Eva Posner, president of political consultancy Evinco Strategies, specializing in helping women win, including working on the campaign of San Diego City Council Member Monica Montgomery Steppe
  • Jesus Cardenas, principal consultant at Grassroots Resources and chief of staff for San Diego City Council President Pro Tem Stephen Whitburn
  • and Dan Rottenstreich, founder of Amplify Campaigns and former VP of RoseK Consulting, a legendary firm helping Democrats across the country and local labor campaigns.

We talked about what’s driving these revolting, rotten, repellent, repulsive, rancid, rank, rankling, rather ugly, reeking, regrettable, reprehensible, repugnant Republican recall drive, and where it’s likely to end up.

Topics include:

  • Likely outcome? Which side appears likely to win?
  • If the recall passes—if Gavin Newsom (and the people of California) lose, who’s likely to win? What will they probably do?
  • What are some of the other recalls going on that effect San Diego? Republicans re leading a racist recall attempt in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District, against Chardá Bell-Fontenot—are there others?
  • How and why did San Diego flip from red to blue?
  • What are the major elections and issues you anticipate for 2022, in the state, in San Diego and in other local communities?

We also talked about how you can volunteer to beat the recall–California needs you! Volunteer to walk a neighborhood or phonebank, for the two Saturdays and Sundays between now and the election, Sept. 14 Sign up here: sddems.link/action.

September meeting—Revolting recalls: Where we stand and what’s next

Join us for our next meeting, Wednesday evening, Sept. 1, on Zoom (again. sigh). The topic is the recalls—the Republican recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom, and recall elections of local officials, including the racist attempt to remove Chardá Bell-Fontenot from the La Mesa-Spring Valley School board.

Our speakers will be a panel of political powerhouse operatives, including:

  • Eva Posner, president of political consultancy Evinco Strategies, specializing in helping women win, including working on the campaign of San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott;
  • Jesus Cardenas, principal consultant at Grassroots Resources and chief of staff for San Diego City Council President Pro Tem Stephen Whitburn
  • and Dan Rottenstreich, founder of Amplify Campaigns and former VP of RoseK Consulting, a legendary firm helping Democrats across the country and local labor campaigns.

We’ll discuss how we arrived at the proliferation of recall elections and what’s next, how the GOP is using the recall process and voter suppression to further the goals they can’t achieve through honest elections, how we can reach voters and achieve high turnout, if and when the GOP will dump the part of its base that embraces white supremacy and insurrection, and more.

The meeting will be particularly timely as the state recall election will be Sept. 14, just two weeks away from our meeting date.

Join us on Zoom. Here’s the URL:

The Zoom URL.

The meeting starts at 6:30 pm for a social half-hour. Programming starts at 7 pm.

We had hoped to meet together in person but the coronavirus surge has pushed us back to Zoom, out of an abundance of caution (there’s a phrase we don’t want to use anymore—”abundance of caution”). And that relates to the recall election: While California’s covid rates are better than average, Republican states have hospitals over capacity and refrigerated trucks to pile up the corpses. That could be our future in a few months, if Republicans win. Which could happen—it’s a very close race, in a very unfair election that’s tilted away from Democrats.

However, you can help stop the recall. Volunteer to walk a neighborhood or phonebank, every Saturday and Sunday between now and the election, Sept. 14. Sign up here: sddems.link/action—look for the La Mesa event. Or go to another event if you don’t like the La Mesa location. Just get out and walk, or work the phones!

And we’re looking for volunteers to staff the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club booth for Oktoberfest. It’s a great way to have fun, meet your neighbors, and help get the word out about progressive candidates and causes. Contact Steve Jesionka for details: sjesionka@cox.net.

September meeting will be on Zoom—volunteer to defeat the Republican recall—help out with Oktoberfest

Change of plan: We had been planning to meet in person in September, but that’s not going to happen. Out of an abundance of caution, we’re going to do the meeting on Zoom instead.

The subject will be the recall election, and we have a panel of powerhouse local political consultants. Wednesday, Sept. 1, 7 pm for programming, 6:30 pm for unstructured conversation.

We’ll meet on the usual Zoom URL:

The usual Zoom URL..

Look for a more detailed announcement soon.

The reason for the change of venue is, of course, surging Delta variant numbers. And the pandemic is the top, most urgent issue of this recall. The top Republican challengers want to roll back Covid protections, including vaccine and mask mandates, which could put us on the same trajectory as Texas and Florida, where hospitals are overwhelmed and they’re bringing in refrigerated trucks to stack the corpses.


We need you to volunteer to beat the recall: We’re going door-to-door to get out the vote, meeting every Saturday and Sunday at 10 am, between now and the election, Sept. 14, at Collier Park, 4401 Palm Avenue. Sign up here. And if that location is inconvenient for you, there are plenty of other locations. Or you can phone bank. Visit sddems.link/action for volunteer opportunities.


And we’re looking for volunteers to staff the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club booth for Oktoberfest. It’s a great way to have fun, meet your neighbors, and help get the word out about progressive candidates and causes. Contact Steve Jesionka for details sjesionka@cox.net.

Day of action to stop the recall election!

It’s time to get to work to stop the terrible recall election!

We’re hosting a No on the Recall walk this Sunday, August 15 at 1:00 p.m., and we need you to join us.

We will have a short training, then send you out with a list that the party has prepared of a targeted walkable neighborhood. You’ll walk (with social distancing & mask), with either a paper list or with the MiniVan vote builder phone app.

To sign up, go to sddems.link/action, find the La Mesa walk, and sign up there.

The message we’re giving to everyone is “Vote No on the recall”. Question 2 doesn’t need to be answered—you can just answer NO on question 1 and you’re done.

After you’ve finished your walk, if you’re using a paper list, please return the list when you’e finished to the same location you picked up the list. If you use MiniVan, your data will link automatically.

You will also have door hangers to give to voters.

Those that would prefer to make phone calls, go to the link above, and you can find the information you need to start.

This will NOT be the only chance to walk and talk to voters. We will do this every weekend until the election.

Also, we will have yard signs available, for a small donation.

If you have any questions, please contact either the county party at sddemocrats.org, or club president Tina Rynberg at treehugger1309@yahoo.com.

Let’s do the work and keep our state blue!

August general meeting: Stop the recall—Protect yourself against senior scams

Join us for our next general meeting, Wednesday, Aug. 4, to hear about what you can do to stop the Republican campaign to recall Governor Gavin Newsom, as well as learn about how you can protect yourself against scammers who prey on seniors.

We’ll hear from Ryan Hurd, executive director of the San Diego Democratic Party, to learn what the party is doing to keep Gov. Newsom in office, and how you can—and should—help.

The recall is unpopular, but the unfair nature of this election means it’s going to be tough to defeat the recall anyway. The Republican backers of the recall are taking a leaf from the national playbook; they can’t win fair elections so they find loopholes in the law and exploit those cheat codes. But we can stop them. Find out how.

And we’ll also hear from a couple of experts on how confidence artists rip off older Americans, and what you can do to protect yourselves and your loved ones. Our speakers are Kevin Durawa, of the California Contractors State License Board, and Jackie Wiley, from the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation. Scammers claim to be building contractors, or the IRS, they promise too-good-to-be-true deals or make dire threats of criminal prosecution. Find out what you can do.

Join us on Zoom Wednesday, Aug. 4. Programming starts at 7 pm, with unstructured conversation starting 6:30 pm. Zoom link.

Hopefully this will be our last Zoom meeting—we’re planning a triumphant return to regular meetings at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Community Drive, La Mesa, Wednesday, Sept. 1. Mark your calendars!

ALSO: Here’s what you can do starting now to stop the recall:

Even though California is strongly Democratic, we cannot be complacent about the recall. Republicans are strongly in favor of it; Dems seem less motivated. Unless the NO vote on the recall is over 50%, the Republican with the most votes will become Governor.

You can help contacting voters via phone banking, texting or canvassing on Days of Action in selected areas. You can also create your own initiatives such as tabling at community events, having a house party, calling friends, etc.

Phone banking: Thursday nights from 6-8 pm. Sign up at sddems.link/norecall

Texting: Sign up at bit.ly/recalltexting

Canvassing et al: Check on norecallsd.org for links, talking points, handouts etc.

Your own initiatives: Email info@sddemocrats.org. The Party can help with promotion and materials.

Video — Learn about cybercrime, digital rights, and how to protect yourself online — watch the video of our July general meeting

Ransomware and other computer crimes are big business, with cybercrooks attacking our oil infrastructure and healthcare facilities. At the July meeting of the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club, we heard from two experts about the threats — and how you can protect yourself.

  • Seth Hall, who leads techLEAD, a San Diego organization of technologists listening, engaging, advocating and defending on the technology issues of our time. .
  • Antonio Adams, senior advisor at Southern California Edison, responsible for developing security solutions helping to ensure reliability of electricity to more than 15 million users. Additionally, Adams serves in the US Navy Reserves, and previously served as the Senior Intelligence Officer for Cyber in Asia and Critical Infrastructure at the Director of National Intelligence. He holds a Bachelors Degree in International Security from San Diego State University, a Master’s degree in Cybersecurity from Norfolk State University, and is currently completing his Executive MBA at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Seth and Antonio talked about the overall threat of cybercrime and ransomware. This type of crime is becoming more dangerous, following multimillion dollar attacks on the Colonial Oil pipeline that triggered gas shortages on the East Coast, and – close to home — a ransomware attack on Scripps Health that threatened lives. How big is the threat, and what can and should we be doing about it?

They also discussed how can we protect ourselves and individuals.

And Seth talked about the importance of digital rights, particularly regarding privacy and surveillance, broadband access, net neutrality, and more.

Also, join our next meeting Wednesday, Aug. 4, 6:30 pm for informal social time, 7 pm for the general meeting, on Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82072702753?pwd=aThYeEcwZ0loMFJ0N0psYjBoaFJ1dz09

Recall Day of Action This Saturday

From our friends on the county central committee: The statewide day of action to Stop the Republican Recall is this Saturday, July 24, when we’ll be phoning San Diego County voters to ensure that they plan to vote NO. Our phonebank on Zoom will be from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., with training and support provided in the meeting. If you haven’t already signed up, please do so here to let us know you can make it: sddems.link/action

Here’s the overview of our local recall campaign plan from last night’s meeting: More details to follow as voting begins next month. Thanks for helping in any way you can! We hope to see you this Saturday.

Wednesday evening — cybercrime and digital rights — what you need to know to protect yourself — Join us for our July meeting

At the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club July 7 meeting — that’s this Wednesday — learn more about the threat of cybercrime — and how to protect yourself — as well as why digital rights are important. We’ll also hear about the threat posed by cyberattacks on utilities, and what we can do about that.

We’ll meet on Zoom Wednesday July 7 at 7 pm, with pre-meeting socialization at 6:30 pm. All are welcome. Here’s the Zoom link. Join us!

Our first speaker will be Seth Hall, who leads techLEAD, a San Diego organization of technologists listening, engaging, advocating and defending on the technology issues of our time. The organization affiliated with the worldwide digital rights organization, the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Seth will talk with us about three subjects:

  • The overall threat of cybercrime and ransomware. This type of crime is becoming more dangerous, following multimillion dollar attacks on the Colonial Oil pipeline that triggered gas shortages on the East Coast, and – close to home — a ransomware attack on Scripps Health that threatened lives. How big is the threat, and what can and should we be doing about it?
  • How can we protect ourselves and individuals?
  • The importance of digital rights, particularly regarding privacy and surveillance, broadband access, net neutrality, and more.

And our second speaker is Antonio Adams, senior advisor at Southern California Edison, responsible for developing security solutions helping to ensure reliability of electricity to more than 15 million users. Additionally, he serves in the US Navy Reserves as an Intelligence Professional with 17 years of total service.

Before working for Southern California Edison, Antonio served as the Senior Intelligence Officer for Cyber in Asia and Critical Infrastructure at the Director of National Intelligence. He holds a Bachelors Degree in International Security from San Diego State University, a Master’s degree in Cybersecurity from Norfolk State University. He is currently completing his Executive MBA at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Meeting details once again: We’ll meet on Zoom Wednesday July 7 at 7 pm, with pre-meeting socialization at 6:30 pm. All are welcome. Here’s the Zoom link. Join us!

P.S We’ve penciled in a Zoom meeting for August, on the 4th, and we’re optimistic we’ll get to see all of you in person once again for our September meeting, on the 1st of the month.

Video — June meeting — Racism, climate change, and other threats

We had an outstanding June meeting, where we talked about racism, climate change and other threats, with educator and policy expert Judy Ki, the Anti Defamation League’s Matthew Brown, and the Sierra Club San Diego’s Peter Anderson. Watch the video now:

Ki, who was recently appointed by Mayor Todd Gloria to the Asian-Pacific Islander Advisory Group, talked about “The Intersectionality of Racism and Misogyny.”

Brown, the ADL’s associate director of law enforcement initiatives and community security, discussed trends in racism and extremism — including some threats here in San Diego.

And Anderson spoke on the threat of climate change — globally, nationally, and right here in San Diego — and what we can and should be doing to mitigate the danger.

And join us Wednesday, July 7, when we’ learn more about the threat of cybercrime — and how to protect yourself — as well as why you should care about your digital rights. Our speaker will be Seth Hall, who leads techLEAD https://techleadsd.org, a San Diego organization of technologists listening, engaging, advocating and defending on the technology issues of our time. We’ll meet on Zoom Wednesday July 7 at 7 pm, with pre-meeting socialization at 6:30 pm. All are welcome.

Here’s the URL