Atkins, Emerald, City Council Candidates’ Forum Highlight August Meeting

The August 7th meeting of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will feature the return of a pair of Club favorites, and a critical forum for the candidates running to replace Scott Sherman as the San Diego District 7 City Council Representative.

One of our speakers is California Senator Toni G. Atkins, perhaps the most powerful San Diego political voice in Sacramento, and another, Marti Emerald, was the first Democratic to win a District 7 election in decades when she overcame long odds to capture the seat in 2008.

The first speaker of the evening will be Atkins, President pro Tempore of the California Senate. Atkins began her tenure as an elected official by serving eight years on the San Diego City Council, representing District 3. During her second term, she became Acting Mayor, receiving accolades for leading the city through tumultuous times. In 2010, she was elected to the State Assembly, and in 2014 she was selected as Speaker of the Assembly – becoming the first Speaker from San Diego. In 2016, she was elected to the State Senate, representing the 39th District, which includes much of central and northern San Diego, Coronado, Del Mar and Solana Beach. Early last year, her colleagues selected her as their leader, making her the first woman ever to lead the Senate and the first person since the 19th century to have led both houses of the Legislature. Senate Leader Atkins will be up for re-election in 2020.

The focus of Senate Leader Atkins’ remarks will be California’s 2019-20 budget and its impact on Californians. The $215 billion budget includes the highest level of K-12 funding in the state’s history, increases access to higher education without raising tuition, invests in affordable housing, expands wildfire prevention and emergency preparedness, increases health care coverage, expands the Earned Income Tax Credit to help struggling families, invests in programs to help people experiencing homelessness and provides tax cuts to small businesses – all while creating the most robust reserve in the state’s history. Atkins will also highlight some key bills currently being considered by the Legislature, including her own SB 1, the California Environment, Public Health and Workers Defense Act of 2019, which provides that any federal environmental or worker-safety standard in place and effective before January 22, 2017, shall remain in effect and be enforceable under California law even if the federal government rolls it back.

Ms. Emerald, who made her mark locally as the ever popular consumer advocate “Troubleshooter” on KGTV for more than 2 decades, parlayed that advocacy to an historic run for City Council in 2008, winning the District 7 seat which had been dominated by Republicans for many years. She won a second term on the City Council in 2012, this time in the newly formed District 9. To have Marti serve as our moderator for a panel of aspiring District 7 candidates is a terrific pairing. It will be fascinating to hear her experiences as a candidate as they relate to a new crop of impressive Democrats seeking to repeat her 2008 electoral success. To have this important swing District go back to Democratic hands will play a key role in maintaining, and maybe even increasing the progressive majority of forward thinkers on the City Council.

While it’s been apparent that Democrats look to further the interests of working people with a focus on livable wages, affordable housing, environmental, economic and social justice, communities of color, responsible policing and transparency in City Hall governance, conservative council members tend to favor the powerful interests of their donor base like developers, hoteliers, and special interest lobbyists, the “good-ole-boys” network, at the expense of the citizenry at large.

Our panel of candidates for District 7 represent a broad swath of backgrounds, advocacies, and community involvement.

Wendy Wheatcroft sports a 15-year long career as an elementary school teacher, a community advocate as a leader for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, and was the founder of our country’s biggest local gun violence prevention coalition, San Diegans for Gun Violence Prevention.

Raul Campillo, a native San Diegan and USD Grad, sandwiched a public school teaching career with a Harvard Law degree, an international law firm post, working for Hillary for America, and more recently, a job as Deputy City Attorney with the San Diego City Attorney’s office.

Sharon Larios is a Human Service Specialist with the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Department. Her broad background includes the Linda Vista Town Council and she was elected to the Linda Vista Planning Group. She’s also been a substance abuse counselor, Case Manager at the Door of Hope Transitional Housing Program, and Intake Specialist at Jewish Family Services.

Monty A. McIntyre, Esq. is a mediator, arbitrator and referee, Monty has been a California lawyer since 1980, a trained mediator since 1993, and a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates since 1995. Monty served as the President of the San Diego County Bar Association in 2002.

David Greco, an honored Law School Graduate at USD, he was also Co-founder of Student Alliance for Equality (“SAFE”), high school’s first LGBT organization. His experience as a lawyer highlights his commitment to community, with a focus on helping employees and other vulnerable community members, such as people with disabilities.

The next meeting is the usual place and time – first Wednesday of the month, Aug. 7, with socializing and snacks at 6:30 pm and programming at 7. The location is the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr. just north of University Ave. in La Mesa. Please join us as a guest or become a member, with our modest annual dues starting at $30. As of July 1st, new members can join for as little as $15 each for the remainder of 2019.

March With Us on Flag Day!

Join your fellow Democrats, La Mesans and Americans to march in La Mesa’s Flag Day Parade. It’s Saturday, June 1. Arrive 9 am, at the Community Center Parking lot, 4975 Memorial Dr., walk or ride for about a mile, then off to Swami’s to talk about the parade and enjoy a delicious brunch with fellow Democrats. We’re looking for red, white or blue hybrid or electric vehicles to drive in the parade. It’s a low-key, friendly event, with plenty of time to socialize and catch up with your neighbors. Contact Suzy Perkins, suzyperk@hotmail.com 619-966-8178 to learn more and get involved. 

La Mesa Dem Club Wants You – Yes, You! – To Serve on the Board

It’s time for the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club’s annual election to pick a board of directors. If you’re interested in helping to elect Democrats in the city, county, state and country, and are looking to help educate and involve your neighbors and yourself on important issues, then we want you on the board. You don’t need to be a political or policy expert, all you need is the skills you’ve acquired in life, and a commitment to working with others to advance progressive values (and have a good time too – that’s something not enough people know about – doing good feels good!).

If that sounds like you – and if you’ve read this far, I bet it does – then take a couple of minutes to fill out a quick form to nominate yourself for a board position. It’s right here: 2019-20 La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club Board Elections.

June 5 meeting: Exploring Climate Action Goals

Is the Green New Deal part of San Diego’s Future? Learn more at our June 5 meeting!

Hasan Ikhrata, new director of SANDAG, our regional transportation and planning agency, with millions of TransNet monies to distribute, recently proposed blowing up the old, long-term freeway centric transit plan. He sought to replace it with a more public transit focused, eco-friendly model, to better reach our state-mandated climate action goals. Ikhrata’s proposal sent shock waves throughout San Diego and its 29 local jurisdictions.

The County Board of Supervisors just voted 3-2 against the new plan, but with Nathan Fletcher voting in the minority to support Ikhrata’s initiative. On the other hand, the city of San Diego, with City Council (and MTS) President Georgette Gomez in strong support, will use its clout on the SANDAG board to push the new plan.

Join us at our June 5 meeting to hear more about the region’s transportation future and what it means in our fight to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Our all-star panel includes Ikhrata, Gomez, Fletcher, and Sophie Wolfram, a longtime advocate of mass transit over more freeway construction, who is director of programs for Climate Action Campaign and recently appointed to San Diego’s important Mobility Board. Also joining the panel: Moderator Colin Parent, CEO of Circulate San Diego and a member of the La Mesa City Council, and our long-time member Jack Shu, president of the Cleveland National Forest Foundation and a staunch advocate of public transit initiatives.

The panel is Wednesday June 5 at the regular meeting of the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club, at the usual place, the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, just north of University Avenue in the heart of La Mesa. Meeting starts at 7 pm with a social half-hour 6:30-7 pm preceding the meeting. The club and members supply snacks, salads, desserts and beverages to all attendees. Hope to see you there!

May meeting: SDSU expansion/San Diego Democrats/Ammar Campa-Najjar

Quick note here to remind you that our monthly meeting is Wednesday — that’s tomorrow as I type this — back at the usual location, the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, just north of University Avenue in La Mesa. Our guest is SDSU President Dr. Adela de la Torre. She’ll talk about  plans for Mission Valley West and the expansion fo SDSU, along with the “mini-dorm” crisis and other issues of interest to our community. 

And we’ll hear from Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, the newly elected chairman of the San Diego Democratic Party, about important issues facing local progressives, the upcoming 2020 election cycle, and more. 

Carol Perkins will be our program interviewer. 

Also, Congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar for a quick update on his campaign to unseat Duncan Hunter. 

The meeting starts at 6:30 pm with social time and programming starts at 7 pm. 

Campaign Essentials: Sign up for training April 14

Ever thought about running for office but don’t know what to expect or what to do next? The San Diego Democratic Party has the event for you. Our Campaign Essentials: An Overivew of Running For Office training is a great way for potential candidates and campaign workers to learn more about how to prepare. 

WHEN: Sunday, April 14, from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.

WHERE: Elijah’s Restaurant, 7061 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego CA 92111

RSVP: http://www.sddemocrats.org/training

This short session will cover topics such as opening a committee, deciding what to run for, seeking the endorsement of the Democratic Party and laying the foundation for a winning campaign. Additional training sessions later this year will dive deeper into the elements of building a campaign. If you can’t attend in April but would like to be notified of future training events, please email info@sddemocrats.org to let us know. 

Volunteer for the GO-Team. Help defeat Trump’s awful policies

Each of us can make a small difference on a national level, but a big difference locally. One way we can do that is by getting out the vote; when more people vote, Democrats win elections. Here in San Diego County, we have been successful in increasing voter turnout by 9-15% in each precinct! The Grass-Roots Organizing Team (GO-Team) is training and supporting Neighborhood Leaders who talk with voters in their own precincts. If you’re are interested in electing Democrats and defeating the influence of local GOP operatives, the GO-Team is right for you. Contact La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club President Tina Rynberg to find out how to get involved. lmfdemclub@gmail

Breaking Down The State Budget: A San Diego Community Forum

California Senate Leader Toni Atkins, along with Senator Ben Hueso and Assemblymember Dr. Shirley Weber, invite you to a lively forum on the state budget and how it works for the San Diego region. This is an opportunity to engage with Senator Atkins on the local benefits of state funding for housing, homelessnesss, education, transportation and other issues important to San Diegans.

Thursday, March 28, 6-7:30 pm

Educational Cultural Complex

4343 Ocean View Blvd

San Diego, CA 92113

More info: chevelle.tate@sen.ca.gov

RSVP: https://senate.ca.gov/7010/budget-forum

Trump’s Legal Jeopardy: Law Prof Marjorie Cohn and Former Judge/US Attorney Carol Lam Headline April

We’re please to have a couple of superstar speakers for our next meeting, April 3, to talk about President Trump’s numerous legal quagmires. Our guests are Marjorie Cohn, professor emerita at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and prolific author; and Carol Lam, former Judge and US Attorney.

Professor Cohn is former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, and member of the advisory board of Veterans for Peace. Her most recent book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral and Geopolitical Issues; she’ll have copies of the book to sign at the meeting. This is a return engagement to the club for Professor Cohn, she talked to us about the Trump Presidency two years ago.

Professor Cohn also contributes regularly to the daily emag Truthout, which works to spark action by revealing systemic injustice and providing a platform for progressive and transformative ideas, through in-depth investigative reporting and critical analysis.

At Truthout, she recently synopsized Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony: Cohen Knows What Trump Is Capable Of. His Testimony Should Terrify Us. Professor Cohn said he fears that if Trump loses in 2020, “there will never be a peaceful transition of power.”

Counselor Lam is a frequent guest on MSNBC as an expert commentator on the ongoing Trump investigations.

Most recently, Counselor Lam was senior vice president and deputy general counselor at Qualcomm, 2007-2018. She was United States Attorney for the Southern District of California, 2002-2007. Prior to that position, she was a judge of the Superior Court of San Diego, where she presided over a criminal trial calendar. And she was Assistant US Attorney in the Southern District of California 1986-2000, where she was Chief of the Major Frauds Section.

We’ll meet at the usual time — first Wednesday of the month, April 3, 6:30 pm for socializing, snacks, beverages and desserts supplied by the membership, with programming beginning at 7 pm. We’re meeting at a different location than usual — the La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center (aka the Senior Center), 8450 La Mesa Blvd., La Mesa, CA 91942, at the corner of La Mesa Blvd. and University Avenue. This is the same place where we met in March. It’s just a short hop from our usual location at the Community Center, across the street from the Little League field at the base of the hill leading up to the Community Center. There’s plenty of parking in the Little League lot, just a short walk across University Avenue to the Senior Center, as well as a few limited parking spaces right next to the Senior Center, for those needing disabled parking or a shorter walk. Here it is on Google Maps.

We hope to be back in the Community Center in May — and hope to see you in April!