Here’s why you need to be at Wednesday’s meeting and party for La Mesa Dems

We’ve got a heck of a great line-up for Wednesday evening’s annual holiday party and meeting of the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club, mixing business and entertainment.

On the business side: Jean Dittmyer will share information on Georgia’s Special Senate Election on January 5, and how we can help the two Democratic Senate candidates win. Jean is a tireless volunteer for local, county, congressional, state,, and national candidates. She has hosted phone banks on a weekly basis at her La Mesa home. Jean is also the point person for the Indivisible Movement for District 53.

That’s the business. On the entertainment side, we’ve got great musical guests and a spoken word artist – all local.

Lauren Hermas and Laura Payne will perform together. Lauren is a singer, previously with the local band Mixed Signals and the Resizters. And Laura is a local musician, bass player, co-founder and band member of the Resizters and the bassist for Engenue.

Separately, singer-songwriter Jeff Berkley formed Berkley Hart and made 11 records and toured the US, England and Australia extensively. He has played percussion and guitar with Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Indigo Girls, Pete Seeger, Arlo Guthrie, Bob Wier, and many more musical luminaries. He won The Kerrville New Folk songwriter award in 1999,

And spoken word artist Tisha Tumangan is the director and CEO of Black Kat Theatre, a sketch comedy troupe focusing on politics and social issues.

The party and meeting is Wednesday, Dec. 2 – that’s in two days! Programming starts at 7 pm, with unstructured social discussion starting at 6:30 pm. It’s on Zoom, of course. Here’s the link:

Holiday meeting, La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club

Hopefully now that we’re on our way to having a competent adult in the White House, we can see each other in person again soon.

Come to our holiday meeting & charity drive!

Celebrate the holidays with your friends and fellow Democrats at the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club. We’re having our annual holiday meeting Wednesday, Dec. 2 in the evening, and we hope to see you there.

We’ll start with a little business: We’ll break down the numbers of this year’s local elections, and what they tell us about the state of politics in the county and state. We’ll also talk about how you can stay involved this year – including what you can do to help with the Georgia runoff elections in January. We still have an opportunity to flip the Senate!

Then, on to entertainment. We’re still pulling together details, but we have a stellar lineup of local musicians and at least one spoken-word performer for your enjoyment.

What’s missing? You! Join us Wednesday, Dec. 2 – programming starts at 7 pm, with unstructured social discussion starting at 6:30 pm. It’s on Zoom. Here’s the link:

Holiday meeting, La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club

Also, we’re doing our annual charity drive. We’re looking for financial donations to the La Mesa United Methodist Church, which sponsors Fresh Start Saturday, a monthly breakfast for the homeless. Money will be used for future food purchases and hygiene supplies. They also need donations of clothing, such as new socks and underwear, new and used coats, sweaters, and men’s belts. Pickup for donations can be arranged. For more information call board member Merrill Perry @ 619-820-2199 – Merrill’s doing the legwork on this.

Where do we go from here?

We had an all-star cast of experts for the November general meeting of the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club, to talk about where we go now that the election is done. Speakers were:

  • Michael Smolens, longtime political columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune
  • Kyra Greene, executive director of the California think tank Center on Policy Initiatives
  • Ric Epps, political science professor at San Diego State University
  • Cynara Kidwell, California political consultant and data analyst.
  • And moderating was Evlyn Andrade, a member of the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club board and veteran campaigner.

The meeting was the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 4, but it was already looking like the Presidential election was done. Still, as panelist Ric Epps noted, that outcome was “bittersweet.” He said, “It says a lot about this country that it could be this close.”

Topics include:
– The hypocrisy of democracy in the US, where so many people are deprived of the right to vote by voter suppression.
– What do we say of people of color, given the racism inherent in the US?
– Why we need to look for better candidates.
– Liberal closed-mindedness.
– The Democratic Party’s inherent weakness on messaging.
– Whatever happened to Russian meddling?
– California: A deep blue state, but voting on the propositions often didn’t feel that way.
– How Uber, Lyft and other gig economy companies’ successful lobbying on Proposition 22 is an example of the need to control money in politics.
– What do local Congressional races say about the blue wave in California and San Diego?
– What’s the future of the county, and the county Democratic Party?
– The coming Latino wave.
– Why San Diego County needs to address wage theft.
– How police oversight might still fail.
– What San Diego Democrats learned about campaigning in the time of COVID-19, and how that lesson might be applied in future, more normal elections (with comments from Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, San Diego County Democratic Party chair).

Also, Michael Smolens asked us to clarify one point: Cynara Kidwell said during the meeting that the Democrats could still take the Senate, and Michael said that was impossible. He followed up to say that he was incorrect about that and Cynara Kidwell was correct; the Senate was (and still is) within reach for the Democrats.

And mark your calendars for next month’s meeting which is Dec. 2 in the evening. We’ll have a holiday party on Zoom, with musical entertainment. And we’ll also be doing our traditional charitable drives, so if you see any sales on socks and canned goods and such, scoop ’em up!

Where do we go after Election Day? Join us for our Wednesday meeting to find out!

Our November meeting falls on the first day of a new era in American history. And that’s no hype.

Our meeting is Wednesday evening, Nov. 4. We’re hoping it’ll be a festive event, with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris winning by a landslide, in a victory so decisive that even the MAGAs can’t fight it, ushering in the dawn of a new Golden Age in American history. We’re also hoping to see a Blue Wave of victories sweeping the nation, California, San Diego and local communities.

That’s what we’re hoping for. But we can all imagine darker scenarios. And any of those would be new eras for America too.

And that’s the subject of our meeting Nov. 4: A post-election analysis and breakdown, with programming starting at 7 pm and social time starting a half-hour earlier at 6:30 pm.

We’ll convene a panel of journalists and pundits to break down outcomes and attempt to peer into the future in key elections on the federal, state, county, and local level.

Here’s the Zoom link:

We’ve got a brilliant panel of political thinkers to help talk us into the future:

  • Michael Smolens, longtime political columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune
  • Kyra Greene, executive director of the California think tank Center on Policy Initiatives
  • Ric Epps, political science professor at San Diego State University
  • Cynara Kidwell, California political consultant and data analyst.

Moderating will be Evlyn Andrade, a member of the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club board and veteran campaigner.

After hashing out the Presidential election, we’ll move on to Congressional races, with two key races we’re following closely: The 50th District, where Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar – an East County-born son of Latino and Palestinian immigrants, ex-church janitor and former Obama White House aide – improbably running neck-and-neck with Republican hack Darrel Issa. This is a real opportunity to turn a longtime Republican stronghold Blue.

Meanwhile, two Democrats are facing off in the 53d District for the seat vacated by Democratic stalwart Susan Davis: Georgette Gómez is a Latina and lesbian who was raised in poverty in Barrio Logan and now serves as President of the San Diego City Council. Sara Jacobs is granddaughter of Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacob, and worked in policy positions in the U.S. State Department, UNICEF, and United Nations, and was policy advisor to Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. Gómez is running as the scrappy D.C. outsider, while Jacobs as a Washington veteran who can get things done from the outset.

Locally, we’ll discuss the outcome of the race between two Democrats for mayor of San Diego: Todd Gloria and Barbara Bry. It’s been an ugly election, with Democrat-on-Democrat violence; the winner will lead the city out of the pandemic era.

But there’s more ground to cover – more important elections that will be resolved.

  • Liz Lavertu, campaigning in the 71st Assembly District against a powerful Republican adversary.
  • Raul Campillo, angling to become only the second Democrat to hold the San Diego City Council District 7 seat.
  • On the La Mesa City Council, incumbent Colin Parent and newcomer Jack Shu have a shot at turning that body into a governing majority for Democrats, for the first time.
  • And plenty more.

Additionally, there are numerous important ballot initiatives, including Proposition 14, renewing funding for California’s stem cell research; Proposition 15, to partly overturn Prop 13 and make commercial property taxes more fair, to fund schools and communities; Proposition 16, ending the ban on affirmative action; Prop 25, ending cash bail; and Prop 22, a naked money grab by Uber, Lyft, and other gig economy companies to allow them to continue to exploit workers.

It’ll be quite a busy evening meeting, and hopefully a happy one, in which we celebrate a Blue Wave up and down the ballot. Join us at 6:30 pm Wednesday Nov. 4, for open, informal conversation, with the programming starting 7 pm, on Zoom of course. Here’s that meeting link again.

Help our local San Diego candidates!

In national elections, you’re one of a vast army, but local elections are arenas where you, as an individual citizen, can make a big difference. Here are a few races where you’re needed:

Ammar Campa-Najjar for Congress, District 50 is holding daily phone banks, now through the end of Election Day. Sign up here:

Sign-up and more information

Or for more information on volunteering, contact Michaela:

Colin Parent, for re-election to La Mesa City Council:

Liz Lavertu can use your help in her race for Assembly, District 71:

Help Terra Lawson-Remer for Board of Supervisors, District 3

Phonebanking and car caravan volunteers opportunities available

Monday and Tuesday through 7 pm, "Telethon-style" phonebanking in two hour shifts, with new training at the top of each hour (RSVP). Contact:

Todd Gloria for San Diego Mayor: Phonebanking and walking shifts daily through Election Day. Contact Kohta Zaiser at to sign up.

Barbara Bry for San Diego Mayor: Barbara and her supporters are doing phone banking, canvassing, and at least one car caravan and Zoom strategy meeting through Election Day. Find out more.

Raul Campillo for San Diego City Council, District 7: Phonebank and textbank opportunities from now through Election Day

Phonebanks every day from 12 to 8 p.m. Please contact Dan Shook-Castillo at 619-952-3295.
Visibility on Monday, 11/2, and Tuesday, 11/3, in the mornings. Please contact Courtney Ransom at 858-382-7822.

Sara Jacobs for Congress is doing phone banking Monday and Tuesday. She’s running in the 53d district.

Learn more and sign up

Georgette Gomez, Sara’s opponent in the 53d, is doing canvassing and phone banking.

Learn more and sign up

Tim Nader is running for a San Diego County Superior Court Judgeship. “There has never been a more important time to have judges who will defend our Constitution and our rights,” says Tim, who served 18 years as a California Deputy Attorney General, and is a former Mayor of Chula Vista.

Tim’s campaign is doing sign waving and voter texting Monday and Tuesday, contact Winnie Xu to participate in texting and Tim himself for sign-waving,

And don’t miss our meeting Wednesday evening, where we have a stellar line-up of guests: Where do we go after the election?

Watch the video of our big candidates meeting!

Last night we heard from THREE DOZEN candidates for Congressional, county, city, and local offices. It was a great meeting. But maybe you couldn’t make it. Maybe you chose to watch the VP debate instead, where Kamala Harris demonstrated her fitness to lead in a debate against a guy with a fly on his head.

Fortunately, you can still see the meeting. Watch it on YouTube!

Then when you’ve watched the video, head over to our website for election information, including candidate and ballot proposition endorsements.

Voting can be confusing this year, so we’ve pulled together these hints to help you out.

Stay healthy and sane, vote, donate your time and money to Democratic candidates, and vote blue no matter who! 

Candidates! Candidates! Candidates! Join us Wednesday!

Join us for an informative in-person Zoom get-together Wednesday evening Oct. 7, with a run-down of candidates on the ballot in November. We’re expecting 37 candidates – more than three dozen! – to speak to our members, with each of them getting just two minutes to make the case why you should vote, volunteer and support them.

We’ll start with our usual 6:30 pm informal discussion, with programming starting at 7 pm. The action is on Zoom, of course. Here’s the meeting link.

Kicking things off: A brief review of all the state propositions on the ballot, from our own Sean Quintal, VP for Laws & Legislation, delivering clarity and simplicity to guide your informed vote.

Then come the candidates! We’re expecting an aspirant army from key Congressional and local races.

We’ll kick things off with Todd Gloria and Barbara Bry, running for San Diego Mayor, and the two Democrats vying for Susan Davis’ old seat in the 53rd Congressional District, Sara Jacobs and Georgette Gomez.

These two races epitomize the change in San Diego from a solid Republican town to a major Democratic city. Neither race has ever had two Democrats in the November runoff. We do now. Winner take all. We’ve grown up. We’re Blue.

We’ll hear from Ammar Campa-Najar, who’s running against Republican Darrell Issa for the 50th Congressional District seat vacated by convicted felon Duncan Hunter Jr.

Liz Lavertu will provide an update on her campaign for the 71st Assembly District seat, as well as Tim Nader in his quest to be elected to the San Diego Superior Court Bench as Judge for Seat 30.

We then plan a quick review of important, but frequently overlooked, downballot races for city councils and school boards. All of these jurisdictions spend taxpayers’ money, set policy, hire staff, and have substantial influence on the quality of our lives. Democrats have rarely run for these seats in the past, nor have they worked to establish governing majorities. That’s changing.

Raul Campillo will review his plans to become only the second Democrat to hold the San Diego City Council District 7 seat which encompasses a substantial portion of our members’ neighborhoods in Del Cerro, San Carlos, and Allied Gardens.

Colin Parent and Jack Shu will discuss their efforts to turn the La Mesa City Council into a governing majority for Democrats, which would be another first. And we’ve asked Tyra Fleming and Abu-Bakr Al Jafri to update us on their races to turn the La Mesa-Spring Valley School Board Blue.

We plan to hear from Sammatha Hurst in her quest to win a seat on the Santee City Council District 4.

The team running in Lemon Grove is led by Raquel Vasquez working to be re-elected as Mayor, supported by David Arambula and George Gastil for City Council and Yahaira Preciado and Cheryl Robertson for Lemon Grove School Board – a complete sweep for Democrats in Lemon Grove.

We’ve asked Stephanie Harper and Estela De Los Rios to speak about their efforts to win seats on the El Cajon City Council. And we plan to hear from Monica Hinton and Stacie Hoover about their quest to make a difference on the Cajon Valley School Board.

There are many more races to consider. Please take a look on the San Diego Democratic Party County website and the Registrar of Voters website . And vote Blue – no matter who!

Watch the Video: Help turn East County blue!

We had a great meeting Wednesday, hearing from more than a half-dozen Democratic leaders about how you can volunteer to help Democrats win elections and stop the spread of bigotry and superstition in La Mesa and surrounding East County communities, using the peaceful tools of democracy.

And do it all with social distancing — you don’t even have to leave home!

Speakers include:

  • Tina Rynberg, club President (that’s her smiling face you see in the video below)
  • Sean Quintal, club VP laws and legislation, talking about state ballot initiatives
  • Past president Linda Armacost discussing the news of the day
  • Terra Lawson Remer, candidate for San Diego Board of Supervisors, running against a Republican incumbent
  • La Mesa City Council representatives Colin Parent and Akilah Weber, talking about the city’s public safety oversight task force and the aftermath of the terrible rioting downtown in May, and ongoing demonstrations. Parent also talks about his reelection campaign.
  • La Mesa City Council candidate Jack Shu
  • Christian Bilson, lead volunteer organizer for Southern California for the Biden/Harris campaign.
  • Ali Zaidi, engagement coordinator for the San Diego County Democratic Party.

Missed us? Watch the video here

And join us for our next meeting, Wednesday, Oct. 7, in the evening, when we’ll hear from a busload of great candidates, find out more about volunteer opportunities and also learn how you can make sure your vote is counted.

It’s 61 days to Election Day. Vote blue no matter who.

We need you to help turn East County Blue

It’s scary out there. Right-wing extremists are here, now, in East County, threatening Black Lives Matter protesters and openly displaying Nazi symbols.

But you can stop them, using the peaceful tools of democracy.

That’s what our next general meeting is about, Wednesday, Sept. 2 on Zoom. We’ll share how you can volunteer your time to help Democrats win in 2020, and stop the spread of bigotry and superstition in La Mesa and surrounding East County Communities.

And do it all while social distancing. You don’t even have to leave home.

Meeting details:
Wednesday, Sept. 2
6:30 pm social, 7 pm programming
Zoom link

Colin Parent, Terra Lawson-Remer, Akilah Weber, and Jack Shu

We’ll start out hearing from Sean Quintal, our club VP laws and legislation, who will take a few minutes to walk through the confusing array of propositions on the ballot. This is the second of a series. You don’t have to have heard Part 1 to join us in September, but we do urge you to watch if you missed that meeting. It’s on our YouTube channel.

Our guest Terra Lawson Remer is a candidate for San Diego Board of Supervisors, running against Republican incumbent Kristin Gaspar. If Lawson-Remer wins, that will establish a first-ever Democratic majority on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors — a historic shift in the San Diego political landscape.

Terra is an economist, small businesswoman, and educator, who served as Senior Advisor in the Obama Administration developing environmental policies to cut pollution from oil drilling and mining. She supports an evidence-based approach to COVID-19, affordable childcare and housing for San Diego, racial justice, environmental protection, a sane transit policy and more. Find out how to help Lawson Remer become the second Democrat on the Board of Supervisors and help tilt the balance toward the people.

We’ll hear from La Mesa City Council representative Colin Parent and Akilah Weber about the city’s public safety oversight task force and the aftermath of the terrible rioting downtown in May, and ongoing demonstrations. And, as an exciting addition to the programming we’ll also hear on the same subject from Jack Shu, a new candidate to the council.

If Colin wins re-election, which is likely, and Jack wins as well, that will shift the balance on the council from two Democrats, two Republicans and one no party preference (NPP) to three Democrats, one Republican and one NPP — a Democratic majority.

Christian Bilson, lead volunteer organizer for Southern California for Joe and Kamala group, will discuss how you can help send Joe and Kamala to the White House by building support in swing states. Christian is also an admin of the San Diego for Joe & Kamala Facebook group.

And Ali Zaidi, engagement coordinator for the San Diego County Democratic Party, will talk about what you can do to help elect Democrats up and down the line.

Want to do more? Why not phone-bank from home? You can phone to elect Lawson Remer, call voters in swing states, drum up support for California state propositions, and help Kate Schwartz for Assembly District 75 and Ammar Campa-Najjar for Congressional District 50.

Also: We’d like to take a moment to thank and recognize Jeff Benesch, the club’s programing VP, who resigned this month. Jeff made an enormous contribution; his meetings were informative, enjoyable and packed in literally hundreds of people. He also organized regular anti-war protests in the 2000s, and worked tirelessly for local candidates and causes. Thank you Jeff! We wish you well in your future endeavors.

And join your fellow Democrats Saturday, August 29 at noon to kick off the re-election campaign for Colin Parent.

When: Saturday, August 29, 2020 at 12 PM
Where: Socially distanced on Zoom!

Watch the video of our meeting on bringing Affirmative Action back to California

Learn how Democrats are working to bring back Affirmative Action, with a star-studded panel of speakers, including Assembly members Shirley Weber & Lorena Gonzales! Watch the video of our Wednesday meeting, below. 

Democratic lawmakers are looking to bring Affirmative Action back to California, 24 years after it was banned. The La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club talked with two leaders in the drive to bring back Affirmative Action: Mss Weber and Gonzalez, both from San Diego. The two are sponsors of ACA-5, which overturns Proposition 209, the Affirmative Action ban that passed California in 1996.

Also joining us on our panel discussion was Bud Mehan, Professor emeritus and founder of UCSD’s Create, which established the Preuss School as a workaround to 209. Additionally, we were joined by Ric Epps, a Political Science professor who’s retired from SDSU and current Department Chair of Political Science at Imperial Valley College. Professor Epps was program director in UCLA’s Academic Advancement Program (AAP), which provides assistance to underrepresented students.

The panel was moderated by our own Professor Emeritus Carol Perkins.

Additionally, we heard from board member Sean Quintal about California’s ballot initiatives, and Chris Pearson about recruiting candidates for local offices with just days until the deadline to register.

Missed the meeting, or want to catch it again? Watch the video below:

We need you — yes, YOU! — to run for local office! Find out more. Time is running out: The deadline for many races is tomorrow (Friday) and for others it’s Aug. 12. 

And mark your calendars for our next meeting, Wednesday Sept. 2. Social time will be 6:30 pm, programming starts at 7 pm. See you then!