July 1, 2015 Party in the Park

Our Second Annual Party in the Park at Mission Trails Regional Park was a huge success. 120 members and guests enjoyed the beauty of MTRP, had a delicious dinner, and heard from our wonderful Democratic Candidates. The LMFDC paid tribute to Marti Emerald for her years of service to the citizens of San Diego.

Here are some photos from the event.

check in tables
View from the patio
Jeff, Jennifer, and Sheryl getting the food line ready
The rain stops! Time to eat.
David and Jeff share a moment.
SDCDP Chair, Francine Busby
San Diego Times journalist, Ken Stone, snaps a photo of honoree Marti Emerald.
Marti Emerald receives a huge ovation!
The LMFDC presented Marti with a beautiful plaque.

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Guns A Public Health Crisis

Guns are a Public Health Crisis 

The United States has more guns and gun deaths than any other developed country in the world, researchers found. A study by two New York City cardiologists found that the U.S. has 88 guns per 100 people and 10 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people – more than any of the other 27 developed countries they studied.

They said they carried out their study because of what they said are seemingly baseless claims on either side of the gun control debate. “I think we need more of what I would call evidence-based discussion and not merely people pulling things out of their hats,” Bangalore said. “We hear time and time again about these shootings, especially in the last year or so. A lot of claims are made…so we wanted to look at the data and see if any of this holds water.”

Drs. Sripal Bangalore, who works at NYU Langone Medical Center, and Dr. Franz Messerli of St. Luke’s Medical Center studied the statistics of guns per capita and gun deaths. They used firearm injury data from the World Health Organization and guns per capita data from the Small Arms Survey to put together a list of 27 developed countries.

David Hemenway, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health who specializes in injury research and is considered one of the top gun violence researchers in the country, said the there’s “no question” that the relationship between guns and gun deaths is real.

They concluded that more guns do not make people safer. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2013/09/19/u-s-has-more-guns-and-gun-deaths-than-any-other-country-study-finds/

NRA & Gun Manufacturers

At its snarling, take-no-questions press conference Friday, the NRA blamed the media, violent video games and just about everyone but itself for the massacre at a Connecticut school last week.

If anyone thought the National Rifle Association’s lengthy silence after the Newtown school massacre meant the gun group might have been chastened into re-thinking its guns-everywhere policies, Friday’s much anticipated “press conference” showed that wasn’t the case at all.

In a speech that veered from sanctimonious to snarling, NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre refused to retreat an inch. Instead, he blamed everyone but the NRA for putting the nation’s children in “mortal danger,” singling out politicians for creating “gun-free zones” open to killers, the media for misrepresenting gun issues, violent video games for egging on murderers and the entertainment industry for bathing children in violence

It’s not just a perception: Mass shootings have become more frequent, data show

Between 2011 and 2013, there was a mass shooting in the U.S. once every 64 days, on average Before 2011, mass shootings in the U.S. occurred once every 200 days, on average

If it seems like mass shootings are becoming more common, researchers say there’s a good reason: They are. Between a 2011 shooting at an IHOP restaurant in Carson City, Nev., that left four people dead and the 2013 attack on the Washington Navy Yard where 12 people were killed, a mass shooting occurred somewhere in America once every 64 days, on average.

In the preceding 29 years, such shootings occurred on average every 200 days, according to an analysis by researchers from Harvard University’s School of Public Health and Northeastern University. The study defined a mass shooting as an outbreak of firearms violence in which four or more victims were killed and the shooter was unknown to most of his victims.

Not only are such shootings more common, they have also become more deadly. In the 10-year period that ended with the Washington Navy Yard attack, a total of 285 people died in such events. In the 13 years before that, 151 people perished in mass shootings. Between Jan. 1, 2014, and May 26, 2015, 195 more people in the United States have been slain in an additional 43 shootings, according to statistics drawn from Mass Shootings Tracker, a Wiki-style site.

That doesn’t include the nine victims killed Wednesday night at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C.

Although the fatalities in mass shootings are dramatic, they are dwarfed by the number of people killed by firearms in attacks that affect one or two victims at a time and largely escape public notice. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that 11,208 people died in homicides involving firearms in the United States in 2013.

Today, American civilians are thought to own as many as 310 million firearms, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. A 2012 report from the Congressional Research Service noted that the number of guns per capita had doubled since 1968.

While recent mass shootings have prompted calls to keep guns away from those with mental illness, Stone estimated that only about 22% of perpetrators were “deeply mentally ill.”

Some people, including those opposed to the kinds of gun control measures routinely proposed in the aftermath of mass killings, dispute the claim that such rampages have escalated. Mass shootings are a constant on the American landscape and are more visible thanks to the 24-hour news cycle, they say. The trend lines may soon look even worse. In 2013, President Obama ordered that the definition of a mass shooting be changed to one in which three or more people are killed.

By that accounting, more than 300 people died in mass shootings between Jan. 1, 2014, and May 26 this year, according to data from Mass Shootings Tracker. http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-mass-shootings-more-frequent-data-20150618-story.html

.Having a gun in your home makes you less safe

The health risks of owning a gun are so established and scientifically non-controvertible that the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement in 2000 recommending that pediatricians urge parents to remove all guns from their homes.

Having a gun in your home significantly increases your risk of death — and that of your spouse and children. And it doesn’t matter how the guns are stored or what type or how many guns you own. If you have a gun, everybody in your home is more likely than your non-gun-owning neighbors and their families to die in a gun-related accident, suicide or homicide.

Furthermore, there is no credible evidence that having a gun in your house reduces your risk of being a victim of a crime. Nor does it reduce your risk of being injured during a home break-in.

The health risks of owning a gun are so established and scientifically non-controvertible that the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a policy statement in 2000 recommending that pediatricians urge parents to remove all guns from their homes.

Notice that the recommendation doesn’t call for parents to simply lock up their guns. It stresses that the weapons need to be taken out of the house

 Which Kills More People in Your State—Cars or Guns?

Plenty of states are hitting a grisly milestone; for the nation, it’s only a matter of time.

Back in December, not long after the massacre at Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown,

Connecticut, Bloomberg News published a study suggesting that by 2015, guns would kill more

Americans than traffic accidents do. The comparison struck a nerve, and the factoid has become

a talking point in gun control debates on Capitol Hill. But it’s clear from the data that the

prediction wasn’t just a hypothetical. A number of states have already hit this grisly milestone.

Jazzy Fundraiser

On Saturday, June 27Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins will be a special guest at our fundraiser for the East Area of the County Democratic Party. The event will also feature an award-winning harpist and other elected officials and candidates, all to support Democrats in East County. I’m pleased to announce that “A Jazzy Blue Night of Elegance” is coming to La Mesa to raise funds for a regional campaign office in 2016. 

For a $50 contribution, you’ll be joining other East County Dems and special guests at the “environmentally politically correct” home of Stuart Strenger and Crit Stuart for beverages, hors d’oeuvres, a silent auction, and the jazz harp stylings of Mariea Antoinette, who has previously played for President Obama and the First Lady. We will also have elected officials and 2016 candidates on hand for a meet-and-greet.  It’s all for a great cause, since proceeds will help us open an office to elect East County Democrats in 2016. I hope to see you there! WHEN: Saturday, June 27, from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.  WHERE: Strenger and Stuart Residence in La Mesa (address provided upon purchase).

TICKETS: $50 per person ($60 after June 20); student rate $35; sponsorships available.

RSVP: www.sddemocrats.org/east or (858) 277-3367 You can purchase tickets online here or contact me for more information at (619) 995-0234 or eastvc@sddemocrats.org. Please note that ticket prices will go up after June 20, so reserve your spot now! Thanks for your continuing support!


  1. Eric Hereford East Area Vice Chair

San Diego County Democratic Party

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Party in the Park Extravaganza to Honor Marti Emerald

Party in the Park Extravaganza to Honor Marti Emerald on July 1st

starting at 6 PM – 9 PM at Mission Trails Park


Area Democrats to Continue Tradition at Mission Trails Park

Last year, La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club took a big gamble and held their first ever meeting away from the friendly confines of the La Mesa Community Center.  Due to overwhelming positive feedback and a great turnout of 120 members and guests, this year’s event at Mission Trails Regional Park promises to be even bigger and better. The Party in the Park kicks off our Independence Week Celebration on Wednesday, July 1st from 6:00 – 9 PM. We will again be hosted by Jay Wilson and the terrific staff of the MTRP Foundation and Interpretive Center.  And again, our event will feature dinner, desserts, talk and camaraderie on the beautiful patio overlooking the Park and the San Diego River canyon.   It’s particularly convenient for our many members living in San Carlos, Del Cerro, Allied Gardens and the College Area.  The dinner costs $5.00 for members and $15.00 for non-members.  We’ll be signing up new members at the door.

Along with dinner, we’ll have a couple of fascinating speakers, some local beer and wine tasting, a silent auction, our famous pie tasting competition and the highlight of the evening:  We’ll be recognizing Councilperson Marti Emerald for her many years of outstanding service to San Diego, first as a Consumer Report for Channel 10, and then as an outspoken advocate on the San Diego City Council.  Many of us got to know Marti and worked diligently for her first election in the District 7 race in her Allied Gardens office.  She’s been a terrific friend of the club, and this is our last opportunity to thank her for the many contributions she’s made to progressive causes on the Council.  Marti retires from her current District 9 office at the end of this current term.

Linda Hassakis, Trail Guide and Event Coordinator at the Park will give us a fascinating talk on the native flora and fauna along with some natural history of the park.  “Mission Trails Regional Park:  A Model for Sharing” will include some great info about the San Diego River and ongoing conservation efforts.  It should be a great education for us all.

We also expect to hear from Congressman Scott Peters in whose district the Mission Trails Interpretive Center resides.  We hope he’ll be able to give us an update on doings in the mostly deadlocked House of Representatives, and of course, his strategy to keep his seat in Democratic hands in 2016.  Francine Busby, SD County Democratic Chairperson will also be joining us, as will National Committee member Jess Durfee.  We’ll be hearing from Justin DeCesare, candidate for the District 7 City Council seat which should develop into a heated race with the incumbent.  We’ll all have a great opportunity to schmooze with other outstanding candidates for many of the crucial contests both in the City of San Diego, and other areas of the County.

 IN A MAJOR ANNOUNCEMENT, our August 5th meeting, back at the La Mesa Community Center, will feature none other than Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins!  We’ll be thrilled to hear the Speaker address crucial updates from the Capitol, including environmental issues, the minimum wage, affordable housing, banning imports of ivory, education bills, drought actions, LGBT issues, and much, much more.  Don’t miss it.

And our June 3rd meeting was quite the revelation for our membership when Rear Admiral (Ret.) Len Hering, Director of the Center for Sustainable Energy and 32 year Navy Veteran, surprised us all with an “adult conversation” about the realities of Climate Change.  Saying he was doing this for his 3 grandchildren and their futures, he presented a 70 minute power point that showed just how dire the future is unless we act quickly and decisively to reverse our common habits of water waste, wanton overuse of fossil fuels, and relying on old, easy choices.  His studies and experiences show, and there were many graphs and charts to prove it, that we Americans, while comprising about 5% of the world’s population, use about 3/4s of the world’s resources.  And the developing world is growing in population and essential needs at a much faster rate than we care to recognize.  Much of the world is running short of potable water, energy, and sanitary housing.  Made us all think a little harder about our big meals and long showers, that’s for sure.  Let’s hope that we can all work to elect decision makers that acknowledge Global Climate Change and the importance of how our actions today portend for the sustainable future of our species.

Please visit our website at lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub.com and like us on facebook.  We hope to see many more of our progressive friends at Mission Trails Park on July 1st.

Linda Armacost, Ed.D, President

Jeff Benesch, VP for Programs

La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club

flag.day.parade.stu.critEverybody Loves A Parade!

The La Mesa Flag Day Parade is on Saturday, May 31st this year. Each year, our Club has proudly marched in the Parade and the great folks in La Mesa always give us a big cheer! Because of LMFDC, La Mesa is a Democratic city. Plan to join us in 2014, an important election year, and give a boost to our Democratic candidates running in the June 2nd Primary. After the Parade, join us at Swamis Café: 8284 La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA(619) 668-9030. Enjoy these photos from past parades.