Blockbuster line-up for Wednesday’s meeting – don’t miss it!

We’ve got a heck of a fine line-up of speakers in store for our Wednesday evening meeting on Zoom, to talk about the state of our local communities. They are:

  • Toni Atkins, California Senator and President pro Tempore, who represents the 39th District, San Diego.
  • Colin Parent, La Mesa City Council Member
  • Akilah Weber, La Mesa City Council Member
  • Elizabeth Lavertu, candidate for California State Assembly District 71
  • Sara Jacobs, candidate for US Congress, CA-53
  • Barbara Bry, candidate for San Diego Mayor
  • Mara Elliott, San Diego City Attorney

Amazing line-up, right?!

The speakers will talk about what they’re seeing, hearing, reading, doing, and thinking about as they do the public’s business, in the midst of a pandemic, economic crisis and election. The topic is intentionally broad, to provide an opportunity for our speakers to run with it and tell our members and community what you need to know.

Two of our speakers are running in elections against other Democrats; we’ve invited those Democrats as well.

The meeting starts at 6:30 pm for the socializing, followed by a 7 pm start time for the business meeting. Register here.

And join us Tuesday 4 pm for an unstructured social meetup. It’ll be a good chance to catch up with other club members and get some help with Zoom for those of you who need that. Register for that meeting here.

And if for whatever reason you can’t make the Zoom, you can catch us on YouTube, both live during the event and afterward. Watch it on the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club YouTube Channel.

See you Tuesday and Wednesday!

Mitch Wagner
Communications & Social Media
La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club

Two Zoom meetings this week! Join us!

The La Mesa-Foothills Democratic is resuming its meeting schedule this week with not one but TWO meetings on Zoom. Please join us for either or both meetings.

Wednesday, May 6, we’ve got a line-up of local leaders to talk about the state of our communities — how are we doing? What’s the outlook for La Mesa, San Diego, Spring Valley and the other communities our club serves?

We’ll have more to say about who’s speaking soon; we’re waiting to finalize a couple of names. Also — I admit it! — I want to build suspense. Trust me on this, the line-up is FANTASTIC.

That’s Wednesday, May 6, 7 pm for the general meeting, with social time starting at 6:30 pm. (First Wednesday of the month, just like usual. We’re pleased about that.)

Additionally, on Tuesday, May 5, at 4 pm, we’re going to have an unstructured Zoom meetup, just to say hi, talk about whatever is on our minds, connect with each other, and learn to use Zoom and get comfortable on it, for those of us who need that.

Just to keep things organized, we’re requiring attendees at the meetings to register in advance. You can register for the Tuesday meeting here:

LMFDC informal meetup
Time: Tuesday, May 5, 2020 04:00 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

And the Wednesday meeting is here:

Topic: LMFDC General Meeting
Time: Wednesday, May 6, 2020 06:30 PM Pacific Time (US and Canada)

We’ll stream the meetings on our YouTube channel, for those who can’t make it on Zoom.

We hope to see you Tuesday and Wednesday. And watch for more details soon!

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

Today is Census Day!

Today is Census Day! The Census only takes a few minutes to fill out — but it will decide for the next ten years how much money goes toward our schools, hospitals, infrastructure, and other critical programs. Be counted! Fill out the census TODAY at

I filled out the census while literally standing on one foot, and that is not a position I can hold for very long. 

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

Local coronavirus updates for March 25 2020

We hope you’re staying healthy and doing well. We’re back with the latest update of local news and information you can use during the emergency.

San Diego County Democratic Party chair Will Rodriguez-Kennedy was admitted to intensive care and is battling Covid-19. Will is a good man, valuable public servant and friend to the club. He was one of our speakers at our March 4 discussion of the primary outcome; listen on Matt Strabone’s Show in Progress podcast if you missed it. Get well soon, Will!

Will is one of several local Democrats sickened with the virus; election gatherings could be a source. We wish all of them a speedy recovery.

State Senate President Toni Atkins is calling on San Diegans to donate blood as supplies run low.

Looking for work? Grocery stores are hiring.

UCSD and Sharp are taking donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers, food for caregivers, and more.

Jewish Family Services is providing continued services.

Ammar Campa-Najjar’s Congressional campaign is hosting Coronavirus information on its Website home page. The candidate also plans a tele town hall soon.

More county public spaces are being shut down due to visitor crowding attractions and ignoring social distancing.

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore says he won’t force gun stores to close — for now. County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and other California leaders says gun stores are “nonessential” and need to close with other, similarly classified businesses, but gun rights advocates disagree.

Local coronavirus resources:

City of La Mesa
San Diego
US Centers for Disease Control
Consumer Reports Guide to the Coronavirus

We’ve updated the club Website. For now, only the primary domain, is working. Over the next couple of days, should resolve correctly.

In other words, use the .com address, not the .org address for now; hopefully in the next couple of days you can use either.

It’s a cleaner design, with greater emphasis on new information and updates. And on the back end it’s easier for us to update.

(Nerd note: We moved from Wix, which we had been using for the past two years, back to, which we were using before making the switch to Wix. And now we’re back at WordPress.)

Save the dates: We’re planning on marching in the La Mesa Flag Day parade in the village June 6, and we’d love it if you’d join us. By then, we’re hoping the coronavirus crisis will be behind us and the parade will continue as usual, and be even more celebratory.

Sadly, we’ve canceled our next regular monthly meeting, which was due to fall April 1. Hopefully we’ll be able to see all of you May 6. We’ll make a decision on that meeting with all members’ health as a priority, and based on public health advisories at the time.

Watch our club’s Internet channels for locally focused news and information. These include:

That’s it for today, friends. Stay healthy, be brave, and look out for each other.

Mitch Wagner
Communications and Social Media

Join us for the Flag Day Parade!


Join the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club and march with La Mesa City Councilmember Colin Parent, club members, elected officials and Democratic candidates in the 2018 La Mesa Flag Day Parade!

The theme is “Riding the Big Blue Wave,” so be sure to wear blue. And don’t forget sunscreen and a hat. Staging for the parade begins at 8am and the parade kicks off at 10am.

We’ll meet at the BLUE staging area around the La Mesa Community Complex on Memorial Drive at La Mesa Blvd. Parking will be tight, so either car pool to the drop off point or park along La Mesa Blvd., from Jackson Drive West, and walk to the Community Center.

More information about the parade: La Mesa 2018 Flag Day Parade

June meeting: Learn about the border wall and recap the 2018 elections!

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Join the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club Wednesday June 6 for a double-header event at our monthly meeting.

First, we’ll hear about the border wall: Why it’s a bad idea and what else we should be doing.

The La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club welcomes Dr. Larry Herzog to our June 6 meeting. A noted professor in the city planning program in the School of Public Affairs at San Diego State University, he is also a consultant and writer specializing in planning, sustainable development and urban design in the United States, Mexico and Latin America. In a March 2018 op-ed published in Voice of San Diego titled “Trump’s Border Wall Is a Symbol – And Symbols Make Terrible Policy,” Dr. Herzog asserts that the “money needed to fulfill the president’s campaign promise would be better spent on cross-border infrastructure that boosts trade and facilitates the economy.” In fact, Dr. Herzog continues, the “wall is a metaphor for shielding America from outside threats and uncertainty.” Dr. Herzog will expand on this theory and discuss how building a wall, in combination with continued xenophobic rhetoric and pressure from Trump on NAFTA, will adversely affect our billion dollar commercial and social compact with our numerous Latin American allies and trading partners. Also an accomplished photographer, Dr. Herzog has participated in group and individual exhibitions in Mexico and the U.S

Next, we’ll recap the midterm primary results.

We’ll also have the honor of hearing our own Vice President for Political Action, Chris Pearson, recap the Primary results and give us the “whys and wherefores” about the winners and losers and who survived through to the November General Election. Several of our endorsed candidates will learn their fate by primary results alone, so this should be an interesting discussion.

The LMFDC meets the first Wednesday of every month at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, just north of University Avenue. Our meetings begin with a half-hour social at 6:30 p.m. followed by the business meeting and speakers beginning promptly at 7 p.m. See you there!

Our Upcoming “Dunkin’ Hunter” Panel Just Got Better!

We’ve got two great new additions to “Dunkin’ Hunter: Replacing a Corrupt Congressman,” our all-star panel Wednesday – that’s just a couple of days away!

Michael Smolens, political columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune, will discuss the political climate of the race.

And we’ll be joined by Matt Strabone, an attorney specializing in dark money and misuse of campaign funds. Matt is endorsed by the club and the county Democrats as a candidate for county clerk/assessor/recorder.

Also on the panel: Ammar Campa-Najjar, the Democrats’ challenger for Hunter’s seat, and Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, a Democratic Party activist who became famous as lead singer of the oldies group, Sha Na Na.

Should be a great panel – looking forward to seeing you there Wednesday evening at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive. Social time starts at 6:30 pm, and programming at 7 pm.

Previously: At Our May Meeting: Dunkin’ Hunter: Replacing a Corrupt Congressman

At our May Meeting: Dunkin’ Hunter: Replacing a Corrupt Congressman

Join us at our May 2 meeting, where we’ll talk about beating Duncan Hunter Jr., San Diego’s embattled 50th Congressional District representative, who comes with a host of ethical and financial irregularities. Hunter is up for re-election this year, and the club is backing a strong Democratic contender – La Mesa native Ammar Campa-Najjar, who’s one of our speakers at the meeting.

Our other speaker is Jon “Bowzer” Bauman, a Democratic Party activist who became famous in the 1960s and 70s as led singer for the oldies group Sha Na Na.

Hunter’s troubles started in 2016 when the Federal Election Commission (FEC) began examining his use of campaign funds for personal expenses such as video games, flying a rabbit on a plane, tuition, family vacations and much more.

Although Hunter has reviewed his campaign spending and reimbursed his treasury more than $60,000 in expenses he identified as “personal, mistaken or undocumented,” he is currently under a Department of Justice criminal investigation for alleged campaign finance violations.

Ammar Campa-Najjar

Campa-Najjar left La Mesa as a boy, along with his family, for the Gaza Strip in 1998. When war made it unsafe to stay, he returned with his mother and brother to San Diego. After graduating from San Diego State University with dual bachelor’s degrees in philosophy and psychology, Campa-Najjar joined President Obama’s reelection campaign as Deputy Regional Field Director, overseeing Southern California’s grassroots operations from a headquarters in San Diego. During the Obama Administration he served in the Labor Department’s Office of Public Affairs for the Employment and Training Administration.He is a staunch advocate for unions and small businesses owned by minorities, women, immigrants and veterans. Citing bipartisan support for the Registered Apprenticeship job training initiative, Campa-Najjar has called on the Trump administration to expand and strengthen the program. His platform also includes Medicare for All, passing a clean Dream Act, investing in renewable energy, and overturning Citizens United.

Find more information about Campa-Najjar’s campaign can be found at

bauman pic2-2
Jon “Bowzer”Bauman

Bauman, our other speaker, is the uncle of Eric Bauman, the chairman of the California Democratic Party.

Born in Brooklyn, Bauman started attending The Juilliard School at age 12 and graduated magna cum laude from Columbia College in New York.

In 1969, he partnered with several Columbia classmates to create Sha Na Na. They sang at Woodstock, and later starred on a syndicated television variety series with the same name. Bauman’s character, “Bowzer,” was a blustery, dimwitted skinny-armed greaser in a muscle shirt.

In real life, Bauman is no dope; he campaigns regularly for Democrats in special elections and endorsed Barack Obama for President in 2008. He has also worked as a spokesman for the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and recorded wake-up calls for employees of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. Bauman is co-founder of the group Senior Votes Count, a political action committee designed to elect leaders to protect and advance the rights of older Americans.

In the 2016 presidential election, Bauman endorsed Hillary Clinton and campaigned across the country.

He is currently President of Social Security Works PAC, a national organization working to elect candidates who support protecting and expanding Social Security benefits. Bauman lives in Los Angeles with his wife Mary.

Find out about Bauman’s performing career at Bowzer’s Rock N’ Roll Party.

Join us Wednesday, May 2 at 6:30 pm for social time, 7 pm for programming, at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive in La Mesa.

Update: Two new additions to the panel! Michael Smolens, political columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune, and Matt Strabone, attorney specializing in dark money and misuse of campaign funds, as well as Democratic candidate for county clerk/assessor/recorder. More here: Our upcoming “Dunkin’ Hunter” panel just got better!


Russia probe, human trafficking to highlight April 4 meeting


By Yahairah Aristy and Jeff Benesch | La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club

A great, informative meeting is planned for members and guests of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club (LMFDC) on Wednesday, April 4. Because of the full program that evening, we’ll be opening the doors a half-hour earlier than normal at 6 p.m. and beginning our meeting at 6:45 p.m.

Regular viewers of MSNBC will know former U.S. attorney and current professor of political science at UCSD, Harry Litman, from his frequent appearances as an expert commentator on the Trump White House, and the Mueller investigation into financial shenanigans and pre-election and post-inauguration irregularities among West Wing comrades. Litman will spend his time with us diving into the deep details of the dysfunctional Trump administration and the mixing of family businesses and executive authority.

Are there impeachable crimes being committed? Did Russian interference alter the outcome of the election? Will Robert Mueller divulge more discovery of indictable offenses? Litman will attempt to bring us up to date on all the latest information from this ever-changing Washington imbroglio.

We will follow the Litman address with a panel exploring an explosive local and national issue that affects every community around us: human trafficking. What used to be called “the world’s oldest profession” is now a local $800 million criminal enterprise run by well-organized international gangs that exploit and enslave over 8,000 of the most vulnerable populations among us.

In San Diego alone, there are over 100 gangs involved in the commercial exploitation of people. Human trafficking is a tragedy that affects immigrant communities, the poor, the young and the most susceptible, and involves millions of dollars in illicit monies paid to cartels and crime syndicates that have become adept at recruiting and transporting “assets,” hiding the money, and abusing and manipulating the innocent. We’ll learn from experts how the victims of this formerly “victimless” crime are rescued and treated, how johns are processed in a forgiving legal system, and how this criminal enterprise is fought in the legal and justice system, here and elsewhere.

The human trafficking panel will include the chair of the County Commission on the Status of Women and Children, Maria McEneany. Joining McEarney will be Jamie Quient, president and managing attorney of Free to Thrive, a nonprofit organization that empowers survivors of human trafficking.

Also joining the panel will be our endorsed candidate for District Attorney, long-time Public Defender Genevieve Jones-Wright. Jones-Wright has made it her mission to not only bring justice to the victims of human trafficking, but to break the cycle of crime by working collaboratively and innovatively with public safety entities to intervene early and prevent criminal enterprises from exploiting and hurting our most vulnerable communities.

Several other key figures in the battle against the blight of human trafficking will also be on the panel.

The La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club meets the first Wednesday of every month at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, just north of University Avenue in La Mesa.

Meetings are open to all members and guests, and are free, but we encourage all attendees to support our candidates and programs by joining the club for as little as $30 per year. For more information, visit

— Yahairah Aristy is president and Jeff Benesch is vice president of programming of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club. Reach them at

Rafael Castellanos to discuss the State of the Port of San Diego in 2018 at the March General Meeting

Posted by Mission Times Courier: February 9th, 2018 | Columns, Featured, La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club By Yahairah Aristy and Jeff Benesch

At the February meeting of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club (LMFDC), we learned about the many details of the competing ballot measures on the future of the stadium site in Mission Valley. While many of us live in close proximity to either Mission Valley or SDSU, virtually all county residents are affected by what happens to the large plot of land many of us still refer to as the “Q.”

And we’re following up that wonderful teaching moment with another on Wednesday, March 7, at 7 p.m. — one that we’ll refer to as a “State of the Port” with new Port Chairperson Rafael Castellanos. And like the stadium forum, this one will also feature a key ballot measure, yet another referendum on the expansion of the Convention Center.

And while there are many countywide areas of interest, few are more impactful than the Unified Port District and its hundreds of tenants and near-shore neighbors with powerful influence on our daily lives. Do you use the airport? Attend games and events at Petco Park? Comic-Con? Conventions at the Convention Center? Go to dinner or shop in Seaport Village or Liberty Station? Ex-Navy or Marines in the family that trained at MCRD or NTC? How about cruise ships, the Midway, the Embarcadero, Summer Pops, Spanish Landing, Coronado Tidelands or South Bay coastal parks? Affected by the thousands of tons of non-container cargo that comes into our 10th Avenue Marine Terminal every month? Cars, bananas or pineapples anyone? You get the idea. Everyone is greatly affected by our stewardship of the Port of San Diego and the economic and tourism engine that it drives.

And what exquisite timing for Chairperson Castellanos to appear: A bond measure is headed to the November ballot about Convention Center expansion; the port is still leading the way towards a countywide climate action plan (with electric loading vehicles being used on the docks); the airport is continuing its expansion (with international terminal renovation and parking structure completion this year); homelessness and the hep A outbreak are centered on Port District lands; and public access to bayfront lands, parks and views are a frequent battle between developers and environmental groups.

In addition to being the Chairman of the Board of Port Commissioners of the Unified Port of San Diego, Castellanos is also chair of the Port’s Environmental Advisory Committee. Chairman Castellanos’ theme for 2018 is “Ocean Optimism,” which is the belief that the ocean economy, also known as the Blue Economy, is one of the San Diego region’s greatest sources of opportunity. The region is known for its innovation, but much of its success has been directed eastward, away from the ocean. The 21st century is also about looking west, at the swelling importance of the Blue Economy’s aquaculture, blue technology, and alternative energy industries. If we’re successful, then just like the Santa Clara Valley came to be known as the Silicon Valley, perhaps one day the San Diego Bay will come to be known as the “Blue Technology Bay.”