Video: Mental health awareness and primary candidates — May general meeting

Hear from mental health experts about keeping an even keel in tough times, and Democratic candidates running in primary elections.

Are you stressed? Feeling overwhelmed? Sure you are. Everybody who’s paying attention is at least a little freaked out right now.

At our May 4 meeting, we lined up a panel of mental health experts discussing techniques you can use to cope with turbulence in public and private life. The speakers:

  • Lisa Garcia, project manager at Recovery International.
  • Mark Marvin, a California Licensed Psychologist and VP of Community Research Foundation (CRF), overseeing operations of the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT), a not-for-profit company providing behavioral health care throughout San Diego.
  • Kenya Taylor, a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, and active Democrat.
  • Leslie Fadem, San Diego Democrat and licensed family and marriage therapist.

Also, hear from Democratic candidates in local primaries, including candidates for county sheriff, US Congress, and school board. Our speakers include:

  • Lauren Payne, speaking on behalf of Rebecca Kanter for state Superior Court judge.
  • Stephen Houlahan, running for US Congress in California’s 48th District, against Republican incumbent Darrell Issa.
  • Debbie Justeson, running for re-election to the board of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.
  • Peter Singer, also running for Superior Court judge, though not against Cantor.
  • Godwin Higa, for District B, San Diego Unified School Board
  • Shana Hazan, also running for District B, San Diego Unified School Board.
  • Dave Myers, for San Diego Sheriff.

We also discussed the appalling leaked Supreme Court draft decision overturning Roe v Wade.

Mark your calendars for our next general meeting, June 1, when we’ll be making the case why you should support Democrats. Find out more about what Democratic leadership has accomplished for us.

And don’t forget—beer blast Wednesday, May 11, starts 3 pm at Helix Brewery in La Mesa—support local candidates and drink great beer. Details

Join us for our May meeting to learn about mental health awareness and hear from primary candidates

Join us in person once again for our next meeting, Wednesday, May 4, when we’ll be talking with mental health experts about keeping an even keel in tough times. We’ll also hear from Democratic candidates running in primary elections.

Are you stressed? Feeling overwhelmed? Sure you are. Everybody who’s paying attention is at least a little freaked out right now.

At our May 4 meeting, we’ve lined up a panel of mental health experts discussing techniques you can use to cope with turbulence in public and private life. The speakers we’ve lined up are:

  • Lisa Garcia, project manager at Recovery International.
  • Mark Marvin, a California Licensed Psychologist and VP of Community Research Foundation (CRF), overseeing operations of the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT), a not-for-profit company providing behavioral health care throughout San Diego.
  • Kenya Taylor, a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist, and active Democrat.

We’ll also hear from Democratic candidates in local primaries, including candidates for county sheriff, US Congress, and school board.

That meeting is at 7 pm, with informal networking time a half-hour earlier, at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., La Mesa, CA. Proof of vaccination required, and bring a mask in case you need it.

Missed our April meeting, or want to see it again? We had a great meeting in April, hearing from local Democratic elected officials on how they won their first elections. Speakers were Jennifer Mendoza, Lemon Grove City Council member; Mark Gracyk, Helix Water Authority director, Division 3; and Racquel Vasquez, Mayor City of Lemon Grove. The panel moderator was Chris Pearson, the club VP political action, with experience working on several winning campaigns. If you missed it, or want to see it again, watch it on our YouTube channel, where you can catch videos of two dozen meetings going back two years.

April meeting video: How Democrats elected officials won their first elections

Watch the video of our April, 2022 general meeting meeting, where we hear from three East County Democratic elected officials with experience winning: Jennifer Mendoza, Lemon Grove City Council member; Mark Gracyk, Helix Water Authority director, Division 3; and Racquel Vasquez, Mayor City of Lemon Grove. The panel moderator is Chris Pearson, the club VP political action, with experience working on several winning campaigns.

The candidates talk about the nitty-gritty of why they ran, how they raised money, the importance of knocking on doors and talking with neighbors, and more.

To achieve progressive goals, Democrats need to first win office. San Diego East County is a place where Republicans still wield power. To help turn East County blue—as Democrats have already done for the rest of the county and state—we need to run candidates and win elections.

You can help Democrats win even if you don’t run yourself. Sign up for GO Team, to go door-to-door in hour neighborhood, to get Democrats to commit to get out and vote. Hear from club President Tina Rynberg about volunteering—and to find out more, contact Tina directly at treehugger1309@yahoo.com.

This was our first in-person meeting since December—and the last in-person meeting before that was March 2020. We were all excited to get off Zoom and meet in person.

And we’ll do it again Wednesday, May 4, for our next meeting, when we’ll hear from local candidates in primary elections for county sheriff, US Congress, and school board. We’ll also observe Mental Health Awareness Month, where representatives from Recovery International will answer your questions about leading peaceful and productive lives during tough times. That meeting is at 7 pm, with informal networking time a half-hour earlier, at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., La Mesa, CA.

April IN PERSON meeting: Democratic candidates share how they won their first election

Running for local office is the most important thing you can do to help advance progressive values. Your local city council, school board, and water board are the elective bodies with the biggest effect on people’s lives. And anybody can serve.

But running for office can be overwhelming if you’ve never done it before. If you’ve been thinking about running , and need a little nudge to get there, our next general meeting is for you. It’s Wednesday evening, April 6—and it’s our first live meeting of 2022! Not on Zoom—in person! Scroll down for details.

The topic is “Winner’s Circle,” and we’ll hear from local Democratic elected officials about how they won their very first elections.

Our speakers include:

  • Colin Parent, La Mesa City Council member.
  • Jenny Mendoza, Lemon Grove City Council member.
  • Suzanne Till, director, Padre Dam Municipal Water District.
  • Mark Gracyk, director, Helix Water District.
  • Chris Pearson, moderating. Chris is VP political action for the club, and a veteran of successful local political campaigns.

We’ll also hear from club President Tina Rynberg, talking about one of the most effective ways to elect Democrats—GO-Team—where you volunteer to talk with your neighbors who are registered to vote as Democrats and let them know about party candidates. You walk door to do—or phone or text if you can’t walk—ring doorbells, talk to your neighbors of they’re home, and leave literature. It’s fun and it’s one of the most powerful things you can do to support progressive causes.

The meeting is in person at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Community Drive. Programming starts at 7 pm, with social time at 6:30 pm. Proof of vaccination is required—and bring a mask too, in case wearing a mask is necessary.

We won’t be streaming this one live over Zoom or YouTube, but we do plan to post video to YouTube within a few days of the event.

Update: Fixing a typo in the date. The meeting is Wednesday, April 6, not Wednesday, April 7. There is no Wednesday, April 7 this year. Thanks to the members who pointed out the error!

Watch the video of our March meeting — state of the San Diego Democratic Party — reproductive rights, featuring Assemblymember Akilah Weber

Our March meeting features local San Diego leaders, including Assemblymember Akilah Weber, discussing women’s health and reproductive freedom. We also hear from Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party, discussing redistricting and the state of the party.

And club President Tina Rynberg talks about how you—yes, YOU—can help Democrats win elections by joining GO Team and going door-to-door to talk with your neighbors, or making phone calls and sending texts.

Dr. Weber represents La Mesa and the surrounding 79th District (and is a former member of the club board). For Dr. Weber, women’s health and reproductive freedom isn’t just a political matter—she’s a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist.

Also discussing women’s health and reproductive rights is Anna Heinz, a nurse practitioner at Palomar Medical Center in the labor and delivery department, with experience in prenatal and women’s health, including working with Planned Parenthood.

The discussion is moderated by club member Carol Perkins, Ph.D., a former professor of women’s studies at San Diego State University and other colleges, who is also active on local community associations.

The topic for our April meeting is Winner’s Circle—hearing from local Democratic Party elected officials about how they won their first elections. Our goal is to convince you—yes, you!—to run for local office.

We’re back in person for our general meeting in April, so mark your calendars for Wednesday, April 6, 7 pm, with unstructured social time at 6:30 pm, at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive in La Mesa.

March meeting: Women’s health and reproductive justice, Assembly Member Akilah Weber, and county Democratic Party chair Will Rodriguez-Kennedy

Join us for what’s sure to be an excellent general meeting Wednesday, March 2, when we’ll hear from an array of local Diego leaders on women’s health and reproductive freedom.

Also, Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party, will discuss redistricting and provide updates on the state of the party.

Kicking off our Women’s History Month programming, we’ll hear from Assembly Member Akilah Weber, who represents La Mesa and the surrounding 79th District (and is a former member of the club board). For Dr. Weber, women’s health and reproductive freedom isn’t just a political matter—she’s a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist.

We’ll also hear from other leaders and experts on women’s health and reproductive rights, in a discussion moderated by club member Carol Perkins, Ph.D., a former professor of women’s studies at San Diego State University and other colleges, who is also active on local community associations.

Dr. Perkins will be joined by Anna Heinz, a nurse practitioner at Palomar Medical Center in the labor and delivery department, with experience in prenatal and women’s health, including working with Planned Parenthood.

We expect to have more great speakers as well. So don’t miss out—be there on Zoom, Wednesday, March 2, 7 pm, or come at 6:30 pm for a half-hour of unstructured social talk. Here’s the link: Zoom

Hopefully this will be our last Zoom meeting for some time. We’re looking forward to seeing all of you again in person—mark your calendars for Wednesday, April 6, 7 pm, with 6:30 pm unstructured social time, at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive in La Mesa.

Watch the video of our February meeting with Shirley Weber, Nathan Fletcher, and a panel on racial justice

Our February meeting features Shirley Weber, California Secretary of State; Nathan Fletcher, chair of the San Diego Board of Supervisors, and a panel on racial justice. Watch now!

Dr. Weber—who formerly represented our community as Assembly member for the 79th District—talked about her work protecting free and fair elections, and preserving and expanding voter rights here in California and the rest of the country.

Dr. Weber also discussed California’s proposed slavery reparations bill, which she has championed.

Chair Fletcher, who represents our community following the recent redistricting, talked about the importance of retaining the recently won Democratic Party majority on the Board of Supervisors. With a 3-2 majority, every election counts. Fletcher faces re-election this year, and already faces opposition from an anti-science conservative extremist. He asked members to work on his campaign. If Republicans can regain control of the board, they’ll undo protections for women’s rights, racial justice, and other issues that Democrats have fought hard for.

Board members Sharon Cox talked about the fight to stop the disastrous Cottonwood Sand Mine project. Get more information at stopcottonwoodsandmine.com.

Board member Brenda Miller led our panel discussion on racial justice, which featured Kenya Taylor, a Democratic Party leader and licensed marriage and family therapist, Rev. Shane Harris, president and founder of the People’s Association of Justice Advocates; and Katie Lais, of the University of San Diego.

We also had several announcements and bulletins from leaders of the San Diego Democratic community.

Join us for our March 2 meeting, on reproductive freedom and other women’s issues, for Women’s History Month. The meeting is 7 pm, with unstructured social conversation starting at 6:30 pm, on Zoom. Here’s the Zoom URL.

February meeting: Shirley Weber — Nathan Fletcher — racial justice panel discussion

Join us for our general meeting Wednesday, Feb. 2, in the evening, when we’ll hear from Dr. Shirley Weber, California Secretary of State and former State Assembly representative for La Mesa, as well as Nathan Fletcher, chair of the San Diego Board of Supervisors and representative for the county Fourth District, which includes La Mesa.

We’ll also have a panel discussion on racial justice, featuring Kenya Taylor, a Democratic Party leader and licensed marriage and family therapist; Jim Miller, a journalist, writer and professor at San Diego City College; Rev. Shane Harris, president and founder of the People’s Association of Justice Advocates; and Katie Lais, of the University of San Diego.

Some topics for the panel: Is racial justice increasing or decreasing over recent years? Are we becoming more just as a society, or less, in our local community, San Diego, the state, and nation? What is San Diego doing to increase racial justice? What should we be doing? And more!

Join us at the usual time and place—7 pm Wednesday, Feb. 2 (and the first Wednesday of every month) on Zoom. Here’s the Zoom URL. And feel free to drop by a half-hour early, at 6:30 pm, for unstructured conversation.

Watch the video of our January meeting on redistricting and infrastructure

Watch the video of our January, 2022 meeting to find out more about what redistricting means for Democrats on the local level, in La Mesa, surrounding communities, and San Diego. Also, learn what the $1.2 trillian Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will mean locally.

Our speakers:

  • Richard Merritt, campaign manager for US Rep. Sara Jacobs (D-San Diego).
  • Walter Bishop, Strategic Advisor for Federal Affairs for San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria.
  • Colin Parent, La Mesa City Council member and executive director and general counsel for the mobility and land use organization Circulate San Diego
  • Raul Campillo, San Diego City Council member representing District 7
  • Phil Trom, Principal Regionall Planner for the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG)
  • Victoria Stackwick, director of government relations, SANDAG.

We started the meeting with board elections and swearing in of board members, followed by a club budget report, and call to action to stop the Cottonwood Sand Mine. Then we turned to redistricting, and what the new lines on the map need to local Democrats. On infrastructure, we heard an overview from our SANDAG representatives, asked each speaker what the new federal and county plans mean to their constituents, and learned about highlights and what’s missing, in transportation, clean water, wastewater, and more.

We concluded the meeting by hearing from local leaders on matters of importance to our community.

Join us infor our next general meeting, Feb. 2, when the topics will be appropriate to Black History Month. The meeting will be 7 pm PT on Zoom. And you can join us early for casual conversation starting at 6:30 pm.

January meeting — the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act — Redistricting

Join us for a stellar line-up of experts to discuss the local impact of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, as well as redistricting, which effects elective offices at the federal and local level.

Our spectacular panel of guest speakers are:

First, find out more about what district you’re in for federal and local offices following the recently adopted redistricting. If you find yourself in a district with a representative you don’t like, think of this as an opportunity to make change for yourself and your neighbors.

And then we’ll talk about the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, and what the plan will mean to San Diego, California, and the country.

We’re meeting on Zoom, 7 pm Wednesday, Jan. 5, with the usual informal open discussion starting 6:30 pm. We had planned to meet in person, but the Covid surge makes that unwise.

Join us on Zoom

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act “will rebuild America’s roads, bridges and rails, expand access to clean drinking water, ensure every American has access to high-speed Internet, tackle the climate crisis, advance environmental justice, and invest in communities that have too often been left behind.” The legislation also eases “inflationary pressures and strengthens supply chains by making long overdue improvements for our nation’s ports, airports, rail and roads.” (Source: “Fact Sheet: The Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal,” at Whitehouse.gov. This document is a great overview of what’s in the bill, and it’s a fast read too.)

The legislation “will drive the creation of good-paying union jobs and grow the economy sustainably and equitably so that everyone gets ahead for decades to come. Combined with the President’s Build Back Framework, it will add on average 1.5 million jobs per year for the next 10 years,” according to the White House fact sheet.

California gets $45.5 billion — the largest share of any state. But that’s actually relatively small given the size of the state, just over $1,200 per Californian, one of the lowest rates of any state. States with relatively small populations, such as Alaska and Vermont, get bigger benefits on a per-resident basis. (Source: “California gets small share of infrastructure bill,” CalMatters)

Two thirds of California’s share, about $30 billion over five years, goes to road, highway, and bridge repairs. That’s a big deal because our roads are in bad shape, rating at or near the bottom of other states.

Another $9.45 billion over five years goes to improving public transportation statewide.

The remainder of California’s share would mostly be spent on improvements to water systems ($3.5 billion), airports ($1.5 billion), aid for high-speed Internet to Californians ($100 million for 545,000+ Californians), and more. (Source: “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will Deliver for California,” at Whitehouse.gov provides a more detailed overview of California spending. )

This is legislation Democrats can be proud of. Despite the current struggles getting Build Back Better passed, the infrastructure bill demonstrates Democrats are working hard to make lives better for Americans, while Republicans are making America worse. Indeed, all of San Diego’s Congressional representatives save the lone Republican voted for the bill.