Inspired to Run: Political Engagement for the Greater Good
Susan Davis, Scott Peters, Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, Todd Gloria & Other Local Luminaries to Discuss “Why I Chose Public Service!”
High powered panel of local political heavy-weights to discuss what inspired them to run and why others should consider entering the political arena. The panel will be convened at the Wednesday, August 2nd meeting of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club (7:00 PM La Mesa Community Center–4975 Memorial Dr, La Mesa, CA 91942).
Democrats continue to take their “Resist Trump” agenda to the grass-roots. The party knows that stopping Trump and championing their own message is more than blocking legislation. They have to mobilize the masses by enticing new leaders to run for office. This strategy involves not only identifying good candidates, but inspiring those on the sidelines to get involved. As part of this effort the La Mesa Foothills Democratic club, the epitome of the Democratic grass-roots, is hosting a panel of local political heavy-weights to share their inspiration and motivation for running. Attendees will learn what enticed these well-known local politicians to jump in the race. This panel includes:
- Rep. Susan Davis
- Rep. Scott Peters,
- Assembly Member Todd Gloria,
- Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher
- Helix Water Board Director Mark Gracyk
- Executive director of The Center on Policy Initiatives (CPI), Dr. Kayla Greene
Democrats outnumber Republicans in La Mesa, Lemon Grove and San Diego, yet there are scores of seats on local boards and jurisdictions where Republicans run unopposed every election cycle. The first step in changing this narrative is to find energetic, qualified candidates and to motivate them not solely by the negative messages of the current administration, but to share stories, experiences and anecdotes about what inspired some of our area’s most notable politicians to run for public office in the first place? Is it, ego, anger, power, money, fame, or altruism?..Or a combination of these factors?
Congresswoman Susan Davis represents California’s 53rd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Her political journey encompasses her experiences as a social worker, parent, youth mentor, and military spouse. Prior to Congress, Susan served in the California State Assembly (1994-2000) and on the San Diego Unified Board of Education (1983-1992).
Congressman Scott Peters serves California? s 52nd Congressional District. Elected in 2012, Scott has worked across the aisle to fix a broken Congress and stand up for San Diego’s military and veterans community. Scott Peters currently serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee and House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. After a 15-year career as an environmental lawyer, Scott was elected to the San Diego City Council, where he later became the City’s first City Council President. Scott also served as chairman of the San Diego Unified Port District.
Assemblymember Todd Gloria represents the 78th Assembly District, which includes the central coast communities of the city of San Diego as well as the cities of Coronado, Del Mar, Imperial Beach, and Solana Beach. Todd served as the San Diego City Councilmember for the Third Council District. He also served as the City of San Diego’s Interim Mayor and was appointed by his colleagues on the City Council to two consecutive terms as the City Council President.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez was elected in May of 2013 and is dedicated to fight for our state’s working and middle classes In 2015, The Atlantic Magazine labeled her “The California Democrat setting the National Agenda” for her practical, progressive legislation aimed at alleviating real issues in people’s lives.
Mark Gracyk Director Helix Water Board, A U.S. Army Veteran, and newly elected Director of the Helix Water District representing Division 3. As Chairman of the Prop W Oversight Committee, Mark worked with the Lemon Grove School District to oversee the completion of its beautiful new library.
Dr. Kayla Greene is the Executive Director of the Center on Policy Initiatives, a nonprofit research and action institute dedicated to creating economic prosperity, sustainable communities and a healthy environment for all. Before joining CPI, Dr. Greene was an Assistant Professor of Sociology at San Diego State University, an instructor in sociological courses on public policy at both Rider University and Stanford University, and the Diversity Coordinator for Enhancing Diversity in Graduate Education in the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (EDGE-SBE) program at Stanford University. Dr. Greene’s past research has focused on social movement messaging/framing, legislative processes, and public policies affecting the lives of people of color and people with disabilities.
La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club, winner of the 2016 Club of the Year award, serves the communities of Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, San Carlos, the College Area, La Mesa, Santee, Mt. Helix, Casa de Oro, and other close-by East County areas. Our meetings take place the first Wednesday of every month at the beautiful La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr. at University Ave., and are open to everyone. Come join the resistance!
Local Dems to See Proof
Mattes and Fletcher Return to LMFDC
Recent news reports published in the Huffington Post and Buzzfeed, and appearing on many network news programs including Rachel Maddow on MSNBC, alluded to Russian hacking and manipulation of the 2016 Presidential Election, decidedly in favor of the Trump campaign. During the heat of the primary campaign, several website administrators of Bernie Sanders’ FB sites, including John Mattes, who many may remember from our Springtime Bernie/Hillary forum as an ardent supporter of the former, noticed a disturbing trend. Many posts and posters, hundreds of them in fact, were originating in Eastern Europe.
John Mattes is an attorney, former City Councilman, and veteran award-winning investigative journalist who spent many years with XETV and other local news outlets, as well as stations in Miami and Los Angeles and ABC World News. He’s been based in San Diego since 2002 and runs The Investigative Guy website.
Mattes first suspected outside interference in the campaign when he detected strange posts from Eastern Europeans on Bernie Sanders support Facebook pages. The posters had no profile or ties to Sanders but had dozens of faux-Sanders groups. The users who Mattes suspected were plants posted only vicious Anti-Hillary stories from American looking websites, but were strangely all located in Albania and Macedonia.
In early September, Mattes alerted several investigator friends with a list of the suspect sites he had uncovered. Digging deeper Mattes uncovered dozens of Anti-Hillary websites all hidden behind private registrations or addresses in Macedonia. Posts from the suspect websites were flooding Sanders media and online platforms nationwide in October with Anti-Hillary posts claiming Hillary was to be indicted, or had a stroke, or was involved in human trafficking.
Come late October, Mattes shared his findings with Buzzfeed where he is quoted as saying, “What is most disturbing is that the Macedonia stories worked to directly help Trump,” and, “The stories targeted Sanders supporters, creating doubts about Hillary among a key voting bloc.” Buzzfeed reported that Mattes thought this was part of a concerted effort to suppress the votes of Sanders supporters in order to help Trump win the election. “Some [of the Sanders supporters] are newly energized democratic voters,” he said, “If you have the ability to suppress and poison the well and reduce participation, that’s a win.”
After the election, Mattes expanded his investigation into the potential role of Russian tampering with the election. His findings were included in a story in the New Yorker titled “Trump Putin and the New Cold War”. Mattes’ investigation then was profiled in Huffington post and Raw Story, and now has reached numerous other publications.
In March, Mattes’ assertions were proven correct when the former director of the NSA testified that Russia had employed over 1000 trolls to plant Anti-Hillary disinformation on Sanders social media platforms. Currently, he is continuing this investigation, and working to spread his findings across the U.S. and the globe. John will present his latest findings at the next meeting of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club on Wednesday evening, May 3rd at the beautiful La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., just off University Ave. in La Mesa.
We get a bonus this month with the return of rising political superstar, Nathan Fletcher. Nathan will talk about what we can do locally to counter Trump (particularly on voting rights and ballot access) and give an update on efforts to bring home deported veterans. We also hope to hear about Nathan’s political future, and why he thinks all politics starts locally, in our cities, counties and communities and what it takes as progressives and Democrats, to get involved.
In addition to being a father of 2 boys, a UCSD Political Science Professor, former Marine, former State Assemblyman, Ironman Triathlete, marathoner, and mountain climber, Fletcher remains politically active; supporting Democratic candidates and progressive causes. He is a member of the national advisory board of Organizing for Action, the successor organization of President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign. He is a member of the Statewide Leadership Council of the Public Policy Institute of California, and a member of the Aspen Institute Global Alliances Program Advisory Board. He is also a member of the National Advisory Board of the Truman National Security Project. He is a delegate of the California Democratic Party and has been active in supporting Democratic candidates and causes such as efforts to raise the minimum wage. He also remains involved in efforts to ensure implementation of Chelsea’s Law. He is a member of the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on Human Rights. He recently married noted State Assemblyperson Lorena Gonzalez.
Be sure to arrive early to grab the best seats for this blockbuster program. It’s also a great time to buy an annual membership to LMFDC for as little at $30. per year. We recently were voted the County 2016 Club of the Year!
Our social activities begin at 6:30 with snacks, fruits, veggies, desserts and beverages supplied by the members, and the meetings begin promptly at 7 PM. All members and guests are welcomed, and we particularly draw crowds from San Carlos, Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, La Mesa, Santee, Mt. Helix, Casa De Oro, the College Area, and all other nearby East County Communities. We meet the first Wednesday of every month.
Please check out our fantastic future events, and pictures of our last ones, on our website at www.lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub.com or like us on Facebook.
Linda Armacost, President
Jeff Benesch, VP Membership
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!
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
Environmental Heroes Headline Dems Feb Meeting
Nicole Capretz, Georgette Gomez Featured
Saving our Planet is Theme
On Wednesday, February 1st, ten days into the president Trump era, local Democrats will hear an all star forum discuss the steps we need to take to resist the attack on our climate goals, our clean air and water, and our ongoing transformation to renewable energy sources. Who best to create opportunities and action plans than the Executive Director of the Climate Action Campaign, Nicole Capretz? Or the newly elected San Diego City Councilperson from District 9, Georgette Gomez? Or the Executive Director of San Diego Coastkeeper, Matt O’Malley? Masada Disenhouse of SD350.org will also join our panel, as will Brian Elliott of the Sierra Club. And our moderator will be none other than our friend, and former Exec. Chair of the San Diego Sierra Club, Davin Widgerow.
Why our urgency to sound the alarm and expose and resist what is likely to be in store for the next 4 years in the environmental community?
Per the Guardian: “Trump has assembled a transition team in which at least nine senior members deny basic scientific understanding that the planet is warming due to the burning of carbon and other human activity. These include the transition heads of all the key agencies responsible for either monitoring or dealing with climate change. None of these transition heads have any background in climate science.”
Trump’s nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency is noted climate change denier Scott Pruitt. And Trump is expected to name Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers to head the Interior Department. She is noteworthy for claiming that Al Gore “deserves an ‘F’ in science.” And let’s not forget that Trump’s choice for Secretary of State is none other than the head of the largest oil company in the world, Rex Tillerson. It’s plain to see that our new President has little regard for ending our dependency on oil, coal, tar sands, and other fossil fuel sources.
La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club serves the communities of Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, San Carlos, the College Area, La Mesa, Mt. Helix, Casa de Oro, Santee and other nearby East County locales. At nearly 300 members, it is one of the largest and most active chartered Democratic Clubs in San Diego County. We meet on the first Wednesday of each month at the spacious La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., just North of University Ave. in La Mesa. Our meetings start with a social ½ hour at 6:30 PM with snacks, desserts and beverages supplied by club members, and then the business meeting and program begins at 7 PM. All members and guests are welcomed!
Our February meeting is the second in our series we are calling Write, Advocate and Resist, 48 months of learning to cope and overcome the already dire Trump administration. Trump’s inauguration coincided with the lowest approval ratings of any modern incoming president. His shocking appointments to executive positions on his staff and in his Cabinet are filled with unqualified, inexperienced and self-serving individuals who have little in common with the people or departments they are intending to lead, a veritable who’s who of reactionary and far right thinkers beholden to the fossil fuel industry and climate change deniers.
On the other hand, our Environmental Heroes are long time advocates and scholars, the best and brightest in their fields. Nicole Capretz is an environmental attorney with 20 years of as an energy and climate policy advisor for local governments and the nonprofit sector. Nicole was the primary author of the City of San Diego’s groundbreaking, legally binding 100% clean energy Climate Action Plan adopted in late 2015. She now serves on the San Diego’s Climate Action Plan Implementation Working Group, as well as the City of Solana Beach’s Climate Action Commission.
Nicole advocates for local and state renewable energy legislation, participates in state administrative proceedings, serves as an expert witness in state policy hearings and is a regular speaker at energy and climate conferences and hearings. Nicole’s duties as Executive Director of CAC include overall strategic and operational responsibility for the organization’s staff, programs, expansion and execution of its mission.
Previously, Nicole served as the Chair of San Diego’s Economic and Environmental Sustainability Task Force for three years while being the Associate Director for Green Energy/Green Jobs at Environmental Health Coalition, an environmental justice organization in National City, California. She has also worked as a policy advisor for the San Diego City Council.
Nicole’s work on San Diego’s Climate Action Plan earned her numerous accolades among which are:
“Voice of the Year” – Voice of San Diego (2015, 2016)
“Bike Advocate of the Year” – San Diego County Bike Coalition (2016)
“Leadership Award” – San Diego County Democratic Party (2016)
Finalist for San Diego Magazine’s 2016 San Diego Woman of the Year (2016)
Finalist for San Diego Business Journal’s 2016 “Women Who Mean Business” Awards (2016)
Newly elected City Council Representative for San Diego’s District 9, Georgette Gomez, has some serious environmental chops herself. Gomez, a San Diego State alumna, is a native of Barrio Logan and a current resident of City Heights. She was associate director of Toxic Free Neighborhoods for the Environmental Health Coalition, and is well-known as a community organizer who has fought for a number of environmental issues. Georgette was a very impressive participant on our candidates’ forum at the beginning of 2015, and received the endorsements of the Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters, Todd Gloria and David Alvarez among others for her run to replace Marti Emerald. She has spoken out vociferously against downtown special interests. Her campaign revolved around her status as a City Hall outsider anxious to shake up the status quo. She will especially focus on repairing District 9 infrastructure including city streets and lights, address homelessness, create more affordable housing options and increase public safety.
Matt O’Malley is the Executive Director of San Diego Coastkeeper. Matt joined Coastkeeper in January of 2014 as Legal and Policy Director, where he leads the advocacy work of the organization and protects the water bodies of San Diego County by utilizing local, state, and national laws and regulations, and through community engagement. Having represented environmental groups in the federal, state, and local arenas, Matt has experience in areas such as the Clean Water Act and NPDES permits, land use and growth management laws, CEQA, the Endangered Species Act, groundwater, soils, and sediment remediation, and environmental justice, to name a few. Matt currently serves as Legal Committee Chair and Board Member of the California Coastkeeper Alliance, and he is actively licensed to practice law in California, Florida, and Washington State.
Masada Disenhouse is a repeat visitor to LMFDC and founder of SanDiego350.org, a very active climate action advocacy group. 350.org is an international environmental organization encouraging citizens to action with the belief that publicizing the increasing levels of carbon dioxide will pressure world leaders to address climate change and to reduce levels from 400 parts per million to 350 parts per million. It was founded by author Bill McKibben with the goal of building a global grassroots movement to raise awareness about human-driven climate change, to confront climate change denial, and to cut emissions of carbon dioxide in order to slow the rate of global warming. 350.org takes its name from the research of Goddard Institute for Space Studies scientist James E. Hansen, who posited in a 2007 paper that 350 parts-per-million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere is a safe upper limit to avoid a climate tipping point.
Brian Elliott works locally for Congressman Scott Peters but also chairs the Political Committee for the local chapter of the Sierra Club. Brian’s start in San Diego Democratic politics came while he worked for the California Democratic Party as the environmental organizer on Congressman Peters’ 2014 re-election effort. He quickly went on to utilize his environmental expertise to advocate for local clean energy as the campaign organizer for Climate Action Campaign, and is now serving in Peters’ district office. Since arriving in San Diego, Brian has been an active member with Sierra Club and the greater environmental community as a volunteer and professionally, focusing on energy, water and climate policy matters.
Moderator Davin Widgerow is an environmental lawyer whose work is focused on toxic contamination remediation. He earned his BA (Political Science) from Berkeley, and his JD from the University of Wisconsin Law School. Davin was admitted to the California Bar in 2011. He began his law career interning for a Wisconsin Supreme Court justice and advocating for disabled individuals. Until recently, Davin headed the Steering Committee for Sierra Club San Diego, which is tasked with coordinating Club projects, activities, finances, and administration. He also served as Chair of the Political Committee, which engages political candidates and environmental activists to further Sierra Club’s conservation efforts.
La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club is in the midst of our 2017 membership drive. For as little as $30 per year, members enjoy 12 general meetings featuring outstanding speakers and programs, our monthly newsletter, weekly updates of news you can use, special events like the La Mesa Flag Day parade, Octoberfest, and our Party in the Park, and priceless camaraderie with fellow progressives and activists. Join us now to learn more about the current threats to our Democracy and the Future of our Planet. Be sure to visit our website at lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub.com or friend us on our Facebook page.
Linda Armacost, President
Jeff Benesch, VP Programming
They Thought They Were Free
The Germans, 1933-45
But then it was too late:
I first literally first heard of the book They Thought They Were Free, a study of the lives of a group of ordinary Germans under the Third Reich, by Milton Meyer, when Thom Hartmann read excerpts on his radio show. The Germans interviewed had ‘ordinary’ jobs one was a professor for example. The subjects were not part of the military nor government and told their stories as observers not participants I think this is such an important book and Meyer’s accounts of folks ‘waking up and being under a Fascist regime; are harrowing for two reasons; 1. Fascism’s complete control of Germany was done bit by bit, a slow insidious process of rules and changes that seemed benign individually. By the time these Germans ‘caught on’, it was too late. 2. We are witnessing the very same sort of ‘Fascism Creep’ right now, and we had better pay attention and work like hell to prevent it!
Hartmann; “One of his closing chapters, “Peoria Uber Alles,” is so poignant and prescient that were Mayer still alive today I doubt he could read it out loud without his voice breaking. It’s the story of how what happened in Germany could just as easily happen in Peoria, Illinois, particularly if the city were to become isolationistic and suffered some sort of natural or man-made disaster or attack that threw its people into the warm but deadly embrace of authoritarianism. [President Trump’s election]
The [Peorian] individual surrenders his individuality without a murmur, without, indeed, a second thought – and not just his individual hobbies and tastes, but his individual occupation, his individual family concerns, his individual needs. The primordial community, the tribe, re-emerges, it’s first function the preservation of all its members. Every normal personality of the day becomes an ‘authoritarian personality.’ A few recalcitrants have to be disciplined (vigorously, under the circumstances) for neglect or betrayal of their duty. A few groups have to be watched or, if necessary, taken in hand – the antisocial elements, the liberty-howlers, the agitators among the poor, and the criminal gangs. For the rest of the citizens – 95 percent or so of the population – duty is now the central fact of life. They obey, at first awkwardly, but, surprisingly soon, spontaneously
Among Mayer’s stories are some of the most telling aspects of how the Nazis came to take over Germany (and much of Europe). I first quoted them a year ago in a Common Dreams article linked from BuzzFlash titled The Myth of National Victimhood*. I noted that Mayer told how one of his friends said:
What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could understand it, it could not be released because of national security….
As a friend of Mayer’s noted, and Mayer recorded in his book:
This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter. …
To live in this process is absolutely not to be able to notice it – please try to believe me – unless one has a much greater degree of political awareness, acuity, than most of us had ever had occasion to develop. Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, “regretted,” that, unless one were detached from the whole process from the beginning, unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these “little measures” that no “patriotic German” could resent must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. One day it is over his head.
In this conversation, Mayer’s friend suggests that he wasn’t making an excuse for not resisting the rise of the fascists, but simply pointing out an undisputable reality. This, he suggests, is how fascism will always take over a nation.
“Pastor Niemoller spoke for the thousands and thousands of men like me when he spoke (too modestly of himself) and said that, when the Nazis attacked the Communists, he was a little uneasy, but, after all, he was not a Communist, and so he did nothing: and then they attacked the Socialists, and he was a little uneasier, but, still, he was not a Socialist, and he did nothing; and then the schools, the press, the Jews, and so on, and he was always uneasier, but still he did nothing. And then they attacked the Church, and he was a Churchman, and he did something – but then it was too late.”
“Yes,” I said.
“You see,” my colleague went on, “one doesn’t see exactly where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for the one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow. You don’t want to act, or even to talk, alone; you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ Why not? – Well, you are not in the habit of doing it. And it is not just fear, fear of standing alone that restrains you; it is also genuine uncertainty.
“Uncertainty is a very important factor, and, instead of decreasing as time goes on, it grows. Outside, in the streets, in the general community, everyone is happy. One hears no protest, and certainly sees none. You know, in France or Italy there will be slogans against the government painted on walls and fences; in Germany, outside the great cities, perhaps, there is not even this. In the university community, in your own community, you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, ‘It’s not so bad’ or ‘You’re seeing things’ or ‘You’re an alarmist.’
“And you are an alarmist. You are saying that this must lead to this, and you can’t prove it. These are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you don’t know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party, intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as pessimistic or even neurotic. …
“But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole regime had come immediately after the first and the smallest, thousands, yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked – if, let us say, the gassing of the Jews in ’43 had come immediately after the ‘German Firm’ stickers on the windows of non-Jewish shops in ’33. But of course this isn’t the way it happens. In between come all the hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at Step B, why should you at Step C? And so on to Step D.
“And one day, too late, your principles, if you were ever sensible of them, all rush in upon you. The burden of self-deception has grown too heavy, and some minor incident, in my case my little boy, hardly more than a baby, saying ‘Jew swine,’ collapses it all at once, and you see that everything, everything, has changed and changed completely under your nose. The world you live in – your nation, your people – is not the world you were in at all. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves; when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. Now you live in a system which rules without responsibility even to God.” …
Mayer’s friend pointed out the terrible challenge faced then by average Germans, and today by peoples across the world, as governments are taken over by authoritarian, corporatist — fascist — regimes.
“How is this to be avoided, among ordinary men, even highly educated ordinary men?” Mayer’s friend asked rhetorically. And, without the benefit of a previous and recent and well-remembered fascistic regime to refer to, he had to candidly answer: “Frankly, I do not know.”
This was the great problem that Mayer’s Nazis and so many in their day faced.
As Mayer’s Nazi friend noted, “I do not see, even now [how we could have stopped it]. Many, many times since it all happened I have pondered that pair of great maxims, Principiis obsta and Finem respice – ‘Resist the beginnings’ and ‘consider the end.’ But one must foresee the end in order to resist, or even see, the beginnings. One must foresee the end clearly and certainly and how is this to be done, by ordinary men or even by extraordinary men?”
By Robert Kagan Fascism comes to America
Robert Kagan is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and a contributing columnist for The Post.
The Republican Party’s attempt to treat Donald Trump as a normal political candidate would be laughable were it not so perilous to the republic. If only he would mouth the party’s “conservative” principles, all would be well.
Of course the entire Trump phenomenon has nothing to do with policy or ideology. It has nothing to do with the Republican Party, either, except in its historic role as incubator of this singular threat to our democracy. Trump has transcended the party that produced him. His growing army of supporters no longer cares about the party. Because it did not immediately and fully embrace Trump, because a dwindling number of its political and intellectual leaders still resist him, the party is regarded with suspicion and even hostility by his followers. Their allegiance is to him and him alone.
And the source of allegiance? We’re supposed to believe that Trump’s support stems from economic stagnation or dislocation. Maybe some of it does. But what Trump offers his followers are not economic remedies — his proposals change daily. What he offers is an attitude, an aura of crude strength and machismo, a boasting disrespect for the niceties of the democratic culture that he claims, and his followers believe, has produced national weakness and incompetence. His incoherent and contradictory utterances have one thing in common: They provoke and play on feelings of resentment and disdain, intermingled with bits of fear, hatred and anger. His public discourse consists of attacking or ridiculing a wide range of “others” — Muslims, Hispanics, women, Chinese, Mexicans, Europeans, Arabs, immigrants, refugees — whom he depicts either as threats or as objects of derision. His program, such as it is, consists chiefly of promises to get tough with foreigners and people of nonwhite complexion. He will deport them, bar them, get them to knuckle under, make them pay up or make them shut up.
To understand how such movements take over a democracy, one only has to watch the Republican Party today. These movements play on all the fears, vanities, ambitions and insecurities that make up the human psyche. In democracies, at least for politicians, the only thing that matters is what the voters say they want — vox populi vox Dei. A mass political movement is thus a powerful and, to those who would oppose it, frightening weapon. When controlled and directed by a single leader, it can be aimed at whomever the leader chooses. If someone criticizes or opposes the leader, it doesn’t matter how popular or admired that person has been. He might be a famous war hero, but if the leader derides and ridicules his heroism, the followers laugh and jeer. He might be the highest-ranking elected guardian of the party’s most cherished principles. But if he hesitates to support the leader, he faces political death
This is how fascism comes to America, not with jackboots and salutes (although there have been salutes, and a whiff of violence) but with a television huckster, a phony billionaire, a textbook egomaniac “tapping into” popular resentments and insecurities, and with an entire national political party — out of ambition or blind party loyalty, or simply out of fear — falling into line behind him.
And here we are.
*Eugene Robinson: Myth of white victimhood continues to gain strength
WASHINGTON — If there really were a “war on whites,” as a Republican congressman from Alabama ludicrously claims, it wouldn’t be going very well for the anti-white side.
In 2012, the last year for which comprehensive Census Bureau data are available, white households had a median income of $57,009, compared to $33,321 for African-American households and $39,005 for Hispanic households. The white-black income gap was almost exactly the same as in 1972; the gap between whites and Hispanics actually worsened.
According to an analysis by the Urban Institute, a nonpartisan think tank, the average white family has six times as much accumulated wealth as the average black or Hispanic family. Other authoritative data show that African-Americans and Hispanics are far more likely than whites to be unemployed, impoverished or incarcerated.
Yet Rep. Mo Brooks feverishly imagines whites are somehow under attack and that the principal assailant is — why am I not surprised? — President Obama.
Asked whether Republicans were alienating Latino voters with their position on immigration, Brooks said this to conservative radio host Laura Ingraham:
“This is a part of the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party. And the way in which they’re launching this war is by claiming that whites hate everybody else. It’s a part of the strategy that Barack Obama implemented in 2008, continued in 2012, where he divides us all on race, on sex, greed, envy, class warfare, all those kinds of things.”
Author, Milton Mayer, reared in Reform Judaism, was born in Chicago, the son of Morris Samuel Mayer and Louise (Gerson). He graduated from Englewood High School, where he received a classical education with an emphasis on Latin and languages. He studied at the University of Chicago (1925–28) but did not earn a degree
Mayer’s most influential book was probably They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45, a study of the lives of a group of ordinary Germans under the Third Reich, first published in 1955 by the University of Chicago Press. (Mayer became a member of the Religious Society of Friends or Quakers while he was researching this book in Germany in 1950; he did not reject his Jewish birth and heritage.) At various times, he taught at the University of Chicago, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of Louisville as well as universities abroad. He was also a consultant to the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.
What can we do-The Indivisible Guide
WHO IS THIS DOCUMENT BY AND FOR?
We: Are former progressive congressional staffers who saw the Tea Party beat back President Obama’s agenda.
We: See the enthusiasm to fight the Trump agenda and want to share insider info on how best to influence Congress to do that.
You: Want to do your part to beat back the Trump agenda and understand that will require more than calls and petitions.
You: Should use this guide, share it, amend it, make it your own, and get to work.
Donald Trump is the biggest popular vote loser in history to ever call himself President- Elect. In spite of the fact that he has no mandate, he will attempt to use his congressional majority to reshape America in his own racist, authoritarian, and corrupt image. If progressives are going to stop this, we must stand indivisibly opposed to Trump and the members of Congress (MoCs) who would do his bidding. Together, we have the power to resist — and we have the power to win.
We know this because we’ve seen it before. The authors of this guide are former congressional staffers who witnessed the rise of the Tea Party. We saw these activists take on a popular president with a mandate for change and a supermajority in Congress. We saw them organize locally and convince their own MoCs to reject President Obama’s agenda. Their ideas were wrong, cruel, and tinged with racism — and they won.
We believe that protecting our values, our neighbors, and ourselves will require mounting a similar resistance to the Trump agenda — but a resistance built on the values of inclusion, tolerance, and fairness. Trump is not popular. He does not have a mandate. He does not have large congressional majorities. If a small minority in the Tea Party can stop President Obama, then we the majority can stop a petty tyrant named Trump.
To this end, the following chapters offer a step-by-step guide for individuals, groups, and organizations looking to replicate the Tea Party’s success in getting Congress to listen to a small, vocal, dedicated group of constituents. The guide is intended to be equally useful for stiffening Democratic spines and weakening pro-Trump Republican resolve.
We believe that the next four years depend on Americans across the country standing indivisible against the Trump agenda. We believe that buying into false promises or accepting partial concessions will only further empower Trump to victimize us and our neighbors. We hope that this guide will provide those who share that belief useful tools to make Congress listen.
Here’s the quick and dirty summary of this document. While this page summarizes top-level takeaways, the full document describes how to actually carry out these activities.
CHAPTER 1 How grassroots advocacy worked to stop President Obama. We examine lessons from the Tea Party’s rise and recommend two key strategic components:
- A local strategy targeting individual Members of Congress (MoCs).
- A defensive approach purely focused on stopping Trump from implementing an agenda built on racism, authoritarianism, and corruption.
CHAPTER 2 How your MoC thinks — reelection, reelection, reelection — and how to use that to save democracy. MoCs want their constituents to think well of them and they want good, local press. They hate surprises, wasted time, and most of all, bad press that makes them look weak, unlikable, and vulnerable. You will use these interests to make them listen and act.
CHAPTER 3 Identify or organize your local group. Is there an existing local group or network you can join? Or do you need to start your own? We suggest steps to help mobilize your fellow constituents locally and start organizing for action.
CHAPTER 4 Four local advocacy tactics that actually work. Most of you have three MoCs — two Senators and one Representative. Whether you like it or not, they are your voices in Washington. Your job is to make sure they are, in fact, speaking for you. We’ve identified four key opportunity areas that just a handful of local constituents can use to great effect. Always record encounters on video, prepare questions ahead of time, coordinate with your group, and report back to local media:
- Town halls. MoCs regularly hold public in-district events to show that they are listening to constituents. Make them listen to you, and report out when they don’t.
- Non-town hall events. MoCs love cutting ribbons and kissing babies back home. Don’t let them get photo-ops without questions about racism, authoritarianism, and corruption.
- District office sit-ins/meetings. Every MoC has one or several district offices. Go there. Demand a meeting with the MoC. Report to the world if they refuse to listen.
- Coordinated calls. Calls are a light lift but can have an impact. Organize your local group to barrage your MoCs at an opportune moment about and on a specific
Dems Examine Constitutional, Immigration Issues
President-elect Presents Conflict of Interest Dilemma
ACLU Director And Marjorie Cohn to Headline January Meeting
Author, Activist and Law Professor Marjorie Cohn will headline the January 4th meeting of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club. Marjorie is now Professor Emerita after a quarter century of teaching Constitutional Law and we are thrilled with the prospect of her examining the inherent conflicts that arise when a president elect doesn’t disassociate from his business interests while in office. We’ve also never before had a chief executive not release his tax returns, thus failing to disclose his company’s foreign entanglements and potential conflicts of interest on a global scale. Marjorie will also discuss her recent article on the prospects and consequences of a Trump-appointed Supreme Court.
We are also honored to have ACLU Advocacy Director David Trujillo speaking about social justice and civil rights for immigrants and minorities during a Donald Trump presidency. Recently, the ACLU lauded California lawmakers for standing by immigrant communities in the face of future federal executive orders that would endanger them. (Mass deportations? Internment Camps?, Deportation squads?)
Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law where she taught from 1991-2016, and a former president of the National Lawyers Guild. She lectures, writes, and provides commentary for local, regional, national and international media outlets. Professor Cohn has served as a news consultant for CBS News and a legal analyst for Court TV, as well as a legal and political commentator on BBC, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, NPR, and Pacifica Radio.
David Trujillo has spent his career working on issues of social justice and has years of experience in community organizing, political campaigns and the legislative process. Prior to joining the San Diego ACLU, Trujillo served as Planned Parenthood Northern California’s public affairs director. Trujillo helped pass legislation that made California the only state in the country in the last five years to expand access to birth control and abortion services. Trujillo grew up in San Diego and has a degree in Political Science from the University of California, San Diego.
With each Trump Cabinet nomination, local Democrats are alarmed at the potential back-sliding of civil liberties, social justice, environmental protections, public school education, workplace safety, wage and pension protections, banking regulation, women’s reproductive rights, affordable healthcare, middle class housing and job opportunities, income equality, Medicaid and Social Security protection, immigrant rights, and most other progressive ideals that we’ve supported and nurtured for decades. Instead of reforming Washington, DC as promised in campaign rhetoric, we’ve seen a succession of Wall Street insiders, big money donors, military mavericks, anti-science and climate change denying elected officials, fast food and professional wrestling executives, anti-union and working class enemies, anti-semitic bigots and hate mongering fake news purveyors, and fossil fuel industry proponents and lobbyists put into the highest positions of power and influence. Instead of “draining the swamp”, we’ve seen a progression of very wealthy alligators nominated for and appointed to cabinet posts and White House advisory positions.
We’ll begin our 48 months of protest and activism with a campaign to WRITE, ADVOCATE and RESIST these ultra-conservative demagogues in the best way we know how. By peacefully and stridently gathering together to spread truth, education, and social action, we can protect our communities, our planet and our children’s futures from the mindless onslaught of greed and neo-conservatism. We’ll begin with 2 excellent social justice advocates and continue with four years of outstanding programming that you’ll not want to miss. If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. Join the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club, which serves the communities of La Mesa, the College area, San Carlos, Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, Mt. Helix, Santee, Spring Valley, Casa de Oro and other nearby East County enclaves.
We meet the first Wednesday of each month at the spacious La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, just North of University Avenue. Our meetings begin with a 6:30 PM Social time with refreshments and drinks provided by the club membership. The programs and business meetings start at 7 PM and last about 90 minutes. We are just beginning our 2017 membership drive and new memberships are available for as little at $30 annually. All members and guests are welcomed at all meetings and other community events which are listed on our website at lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub.com, and visit our Facebook page for updates.
Thanks to all our wonderful veterans we can never repay you for your courage and commitment to our great country. In January, our country will have a new President and we do not know what the future brings. We sincerely hope our Military will be treated as well under President Trump as it has been with President Obama at the helm.
Roy Zimmerman to Headline Holiday Party
Musician and Social Satirist to Entertain Local Dems
December 7th Meeting to Feature Festive Buffet
They say that laughter is the best medicine, and so how appropriate that La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club welcomes back Singer/Songwriter Roy Zimmerman to highlight our December 7th Holiday Fest! Members remember Roy’s hilarious and biting satire from last year’s party, and we should all be entertained anew given the last 12 months of political shenanigans.
And as tradition holds, we will welcome all members and guests to enjoy our holiday feast, with turkey, ham, and all the trimmings supplied by the club. Members are encouraged to bring appetizers, side dishes, salads, and desserts to augment the clubs meat carvings, veggie lasagna and beverages. As usual, we’ll start our festivities at 6 PM, and Roy will take the stage about 7 PM. Mr. Zimmerman will be selling CD’s of his best and most memorable concerts, so be prepared to buy some great holiday gifts for friends and family. We ask each member and guest to donate $15 at the door, or whatever one can afford to offset the costs of the evening’s food and entertainment. We’ll be meeting at the usual place, the spacious La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., just North of University Ave. in La Mesa. 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 that most need to be close to the meeting room.
We also ask each member and guest to contribute to our annual holiday charity. This year we are supporting the efforts of Santa Sophia Church to feed needy families in the Casa de Oro area. Please bring canned and nonperishable foods that can assist those in dire straits during the holiday season. They also like 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 Methodist Church who offer the city’s homeless citizens showers and other necessities during the Fall and Winter months. We ask you bring new, unused toiletries, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shaving supplies, shampoo, soaps, lotions, and other similar items for those who don’t take these items for granted
While the results of the national election on November 8th don’t leave us much room for optimism, our local candidates and issues had a banner night! We helped elect Board Member Colin Parent to La Mesa City Council, Senator Kamala Harris, Congress members Susan Davis and Scott Peters, State Senator Toni Atkins, Assemblypersons Shirley Weber, Lorena Gonzalez and Todd Gloria, Supervisor Dave Roberts, SD City Council winners Barbara Bry and Georgette Gomez, and SD City Attorney Mara Elliot. We passed measures K & L which will require November elections for all SD City offices and measures, we legalized cannabis, upheld the statewide plastic bag ban, and defeated the Chargers Stadium measure. Sandag’s freeway-centric tax proposal, and the Lilac Hills overdevelopment in Valley Center went down to defeat. Our collective GOTV efforts in total passed nearly 75% of the SD County Democratic Party’s recommendations. Our supported candidates on local water boards won the day, as did George Gastil in the Lemon Grove mayoral contest. A Democratic even won a seat on the El Cajon City Council, a real first. And in the Presidential contest, San Diego County went for Clinton/Kaine by 17 points over the Republican ticket, a wider margin than Barack Obama won in 2008 and 2012. And we helped propel Hillary to a popular vote victory even if the Electoral College vote didn’t go our way. Our growing Democratic edge in voter registration countywide, now well over 100,000, bodes well for 2018, 2020 and beyond.
La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club draws members from the communities of Allied Gardens, San Carlos, Del Cerro, the College Area, La Mesa, Mt. Helix, Casa de Oro, Santee and other nearby East County Communities. All residents are welcome to attend our monthly meetings which take place on the first Wednesday of each month. Please visit our Website for coming events at lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub.com and like us on Facebook.
Linda Armacost, President
Jeff Benesch, VP for Programming