Examining the President-Elect’s Constitutional and Immigration Dilemmas

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.











Veterans Day and Holiday Party

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



Election Night Party

Please join with East Area Democrats Tuesday for an Election Night Party, sponsored by the SDCDP East Area Caucus Committee!


Greetings, Democratic Friends.

We are almost done with an interminable campaign on the presidential level!  Our stress levels are high, and we can’t wait to see those winning returns!!!  Our state and local election also have us excited!  We have the cream of the crop, when it comes to our endorsed state and local candidates.  We hope to see them win, as well!!!

To celebrate our anticipated wins, our wonderful candidates, their volunteers, and our clubs’ work, the East Area Caucus is sponsoring an Election Night Watch at an East Area venue.  Here is the Yelp review internet site: https://www.yelp.com/biz/jimmys-family-restaurant-santee   Use it to get directions from your location to theirs.

 The address is below: 

Jimmie’s Family Restaurant 

9635 Mission Gorge Road

Santee, CA 92071

The best information about this Election Night Watch event is that is free, except for a no-host bar!  And, you will not have to drive to the Westin downtown to participate in San Diego County Democratic Party’s watch.  (Of course, you may want to go there following our event.  Here is a link to access more information on that event:  http://www.sddemocrats.org/ )

Our premier party planner, Linda Nickerson, East County Democratic Club president, has made the arrangements, so you know that this event will be the best ever!!  We’ll start at 6 and end at 10 p.m.  (We planned an early start to enjoy those East Coast wins.)  We’ll have appetizers, coffee, tea, and water.  (If you want to order more, it’s on you.)    The no-host bar is adjacent to our party area, where we will watch those great returns on TV.  



 This is our action weekend.  No one should rest on your laurels!  Walk, knock, talk, win!!!!  

Bonnie Burns Price, Ph.D.

Your voice on the SDCDP CC

(619) 741-6811


Party ends at 10:00, if you want to continue to celebrate, have your designated driver take you to the Rivera Supper Club in La Mesa for more cheer!

Linda K. Armacost, Ed.D

President, LMFDC






Colin Parent



Update with comments from the Lincoln Club President and links to prior concerns raised about the PAC by the FPPC.

By Miriam Raftery

November 3, 2016 (La Mesa) — A hit piece mailer on La Mesa City Council Colin Parent has been sent by a shadowy political action group tied to his opponent.

The mailer deceptively states Parent moved to La Mesa only to run for Council and mentions he’s lived in Sacramento and San Diego.  It fails to mention his long and deep ties to East County.  Parent went to Fuerte Elementary School near Mt. Helix, had his first job on La Mesa Blvd. with the East County Development Council, grew up going to local La Mesa hang-outs such as the Aquarius roller rink, was active in Boy Scots and graduated from Valhalla High School in the Grossmont Union High School District before attending UC San Diego and later, getting a law degree in New York.

The flyer also faults Parent for receiving funds from out of town donors including developers.  While it’s true he has significant donations from acquaintances, family and business interests in Sacramento and San Diego where he has lived and worked, including affordable housing builders as well as politicians (some of whom he has worked or interned for), the flyer fails to mention that he has also received significant donations from environmental organizations and is the attorney for Circulate San Diego, a group promoting transit and sustainable futures to address climate change.

As for a line about “taxing La Mesans” to pay for San Diego improvements, this is also deceptive. Parent has proposed no new taxes for the city of La Mesa, but does support a countywide ballot proposition that increase sales taxes a half-cent countywide to fund new transit and roadway improvements.

The mailer was sent by “Voters for Progress and Reform,” a group that Citybeat has reported in 2013 was tied to the Lincoln Club, which endorsed Kristine Alessio, Parent’s opponent.  Voters for Progress and Reform has previously been in hot water with the FPPC for deceptive mailers and not disclosing its backers—mailers targeting opponents of candidates backed by the Lincoln Club.

A warning letter sent by the Fair Political Practices Commission  in December 2014 to the San Diego County Voters for Progress and Reform advised that the group violated the  Political Reform Act by failing to identify T.J. Zane as a principal officer. Zane was also president of the Lincoln Club at that time and from 2006 to 2014, according to his biography on the San Diego Republican Party website.

However Brian Pepin, current president of the Lincoln Club, told  ECM that he is “completely unaware of the group and I have never heard of them before.”

Alessio, in an online community forum, denied ties to the mailer. She wrote, “For the record.  I never contributed to any attack pieces nor have I accepted or been offered any contributions from the Lincoln Club.  If you pull my campaign reports, you can see my donors are fellow La Mesans and me!”

But according to her latest campaign filing, Form 497, her campaign recently received almost $14,000 in an “in-kind” contribution from the Voters for Progress and Reform.

If the hit piece mailer was an independent expenditure campaign, legally it should have been just that—completely separate from Alessio’s campaign and done with no knowledge or consultation. So why did $14,000 suddenly appear as an in-kind donation on her disclosure form—meaning her campaign received something of value from Voters for Progress and Reform?

Perhaps the Fair Political Practices Commission should look into the shadowy organization behind the mailer and what exactly Alessio received of value from the organization.

While Parent has advocated for affordable housing which could mean limited denser development along transit lines, he has not been a supporter of sprawling development projects.  It’s worth noting that the Lincoln Club, a conservative pro-business group, typically favors developer-backed candidates. If Parent were really in the pocket of big developers, why wouldn’t the Lincoln Club have backed his candidacy instead of Alessio’s?



Submitted by Anthony Mc Ivor on Thu, 11/03/2016 – 12:54

Politics creates many “just can’t make this stuff up” moments. And here we have the President of the prestigious Lincoln Club protesting that he has no idea who works in his offices. Will someone please advise the befuddled president that a covert political hit operation is claiming to share the same suite of offices as his organization on Navajo Road in San Carlos. As a backstairs outfit, maybe they only work at night?

  • Log in or register to post commentsSubmitted by big fella on Thu, 11/03/2016 – 12:27
  • Thanks for this article. I had wondered who was behind the anonymous mailings attacking Mr. Parent. It is sad that even at the local level there is little transparency. Frankly, I would give such mailings credence if they were signed, even if it’s by the opposing candidates.
  • Finally, an explanation
  • Log in or register to post commentsSubmitted by marcia_t.LM on Thu, 11/03/2016 – 11:54
  • Was it too much effort for the writer would list the actual and in-kind contributions to date and their sources for all the candidates so the readers can decide what is what?
  • What is the total money for each candidate?
  • Log in or register to post commentsSubmitted by MPS on Thu, 11/03/2016 – 11:43
  • $14,000 says it all. This kind of monkey business does not bode well for Alessio, regardless of how many times she denies it. Regardless, my vote as already been cast. And while voting should be kept confidential, it’s safe to admit, it’s not for Alessio.
  • Not surprised…

Log in

Marty Block to Be Honored at LMFDC


Susan Davis, Chris Ward to Speak

GOTV Effort Stressed In Lead-up to Election


At our next meeting, just 6 days before the momentous 2016 Presidential Election, the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will honor Senator Marty Block as he faces his last couple months before leaving office. Our meeting will take place on Wednesday night, November 2nd, at 7 PM at the beautiful La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., just North of University Ave. in La Mesa.

   marty block

Block, a long time member and frequent guest at LMFDC, steps down after many years of service as Assemblyman and State Senator representing La Mesa and much of the City of San Diego. Senator Block was elected to the California State Assembly in 2008 where he represented the 78th Assembly District until his election to the Senate. He served as chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee for three years.

Marty previously served for 8 years as a member of the San Diego County Board of Education and then served 8 years as President of the San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees. During that period he also served as a San Diego Superior Court Judge pro Tem, Statewide President of the California County Boards of Education, and President of the San Diego Chapter of the American Jewish Committee.

Senator Block served as a dean, professor, and legal advisor at San Diego State University for 26 years. While at SDSU he also served as the Founding Chair and Director of the National Higher Education Law and Policy Institute. Block received outstanding faculty awards five times and was given the university’s Distinguished Service Award upon his retirement.

In Sacramento, many think his crowning achievement is SB850. This game-changing legislation for higher education will allow a number of community college districts across the state to develop 4-year degree programs, increasing access for quality higher education in areas that have a demonstrated workforce need. Marty Block’s long career as a lawyer, teacher, dean, trustee, magistrate and legislator is an incomparable model of altruism and devotion to public and community service.

We’ll have another star studded group to talk both about Senator Block and give us a little insight as to what we can expect in the election 6 days following.


Congressperson Susan Davis will headline the group and much of her background mirrors that of Senator Block. She represents California’s 53rd Congressional District and therefore most of our membership. Her interest in public affairs and service grew out of her experiences as a social worker, parent, youth mentor, and military spouse. Like Block, she has a background in education and her focus on educational issues at all levels is noteworthy.

Prior to Congress, Susan served in the California State Assembly (1994-2000). She served three terms and focused on what would become her signature issues – education, health care, and consumer protection. She chaired the Committee on Consumer Protection, Government Efficiency, and Economic Development. In the House, as she has throughout her public service, Susan has approached legislating as a bipartisan consensus builder achieving legislative successes in education, military families and veterans support and health care.

In addition to her state legislative experience, Susan brought to Congress nine years of experience as a member of the San Diego Unified Board of Education (1983-1992). As a member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, Susan has played a key role in bringing reforms and improvements to primary, secondary and higher education. She wrote the law to provide flexibility to college students receiving work-study funds during natural disasters such as the recent fires in Southern California.   In addition, she made work-study funds available to college students who work to educate the community in civic education and disaster preparedness.


3rd District City Councilperson elect Chris Ward is well suited to talk about Marty, as well as give his own keen insight to election day.   Chris serves as the Chief of Staff to Senator Block, representing the communities of the Third City Council District and most of the City of San Diego. In this capacity, Chris is strongly committed to excellence in constituent services, facilitating public participation in policymaking, and organizing state and local resources to make our neighborhoods a better place to live.   In the June primary, as candidate Ward, Chris won the 3rd District seat outright and will take his place on the San Diego City Council in January.

Previously, Chris was an environmental planner at the firm EDAW, working with local government to develop land use plans and conduct environmental review to help create inclusive, community-based solutions to neighborhood challenges and organize strategies to achieve long-term goals. Chris will draw from these experiences to help the city implement smarter visions for our urban neighborhoods. Before dedicating a career to public service, Chris worked as a researcher at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research at UCSD on the front lines of San Diego’s burgeoning biotech sector and contributed firsthand to the critical value these innovators offer.


Club friend and previous guest analyst, Rich Grosch, is also well positioned to talk about both the election and his good friend and colleague, Marty Block. Not only is Rich the former District Director for Marty when he was representing the 78th Assembly District, Mr. Grosch’s career track, like Marty’s, is forged in the educational community. Rich currently serves on the San Diego Community College Board of Trustees having been elected to the position for 4 terms beginning in 2002. For 5 years, he served as President of that Board, and now serves as Executive Vice President.

Over the years of his wonderful career, he’s been a teacher, University Alumni Director, City Council Representative, school administrator, and community planner. He’s headed the OB Community Development Corporation and was key in the OB Community Plan, thus keeping Ocean Beach from wanton overbuilding and commercialization. He’s also a business owner and proprietor of the Ocean Beach Hotel.   Rich is a true politico and should have an informed and accurate assessment of the upcoming election.


Board Member Colin Parent is in the homestretch of his vigorous campaign for La Mesa City Council and will be urging all members and guests to participate in 6 more days of Get Out The Vote efforts by walking precincts and making calls from our local campaign office. Parent is Policy Counsel for Circulate San Diego, a non-profit advocacy group that promotes better transportation and living choices for more vibrant local communities. Colin is, by far, the most informed and progressive of the three candidates running for City Council.

The La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club represents the communities of San Carlos, Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, College Area, La Mesa, Mt. Helix, Santee, Casa de Oro, and other nearby East County communities. Our meetings start with a social ½ hour at 6:30 PM with snacks, desserts and beverages supplied by club members. All members and guests are welcomed. Watch for event updates on our website: Lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub.com or follow us on Facebook.

Linda Armacost, President

Jeff Benesch, VP Programming


(AND have a sandwich and a soda!)

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2016, 11:30-1 P.M.
7839 University Avenue*, Ste. 103B, La Mesa, CA 91942
Please RSVP: eastvc@sddemocrats.org or call 661.703.1347 by Friday, 23 Sept.
(*NOTE DIRECTIONS: The office is next to Helix Water District. Turn on Lee Avenue, off University Avenue. Please PARK behind our office on Quince Street.)

Congressman Scott Peters, and Assemblyperson Lorena Gonzalez headline the panel

scott-peters      lorena-gonzalez

Election Series Continues with Immigration Panel

“Building Bridges, Not Barriers”


After two straight packed houses for our STARK CONTRASTS meetings examining the differences this election year between the Democratic Candidates and their republican counterparts, La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club turns again to Star Power to serve on our panel of experts. Congressman Scott Peters, and Assemblyperson Lorena Gonzalez headline the panel which will also feature ACLU immigration experts and a member of the SDSU Chicana/Chicano Studies department.


Just as our last panel gave us a variety of opinions and experiences in the area of gender politics and the parties’ respective platforms, this October 5th panel will focus on Trump’s Build-a-Wall agenda and the local politicos who support him, in contrast to the Democrat’s long standing call for a compassionate immigration policy that recognizes the contributions and rights of the tens of thousands of immigrant families that call San Diego, Southern California, and nearly all of America, home.


La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club meets the first Wednesday of every month at the beautiful La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., just North of University Avenue. We represent the communities of San Carlos, Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, the College Area, La Mesa, Mt. Helix, Santee, Casa de Oro, and other close by East County enclaves. Our meetings start with a ½ hour social time at 6:30 PM with snacks, desserts and beverages, followed by our 90 minute program at 7 PM. We welcome all fellow progressives and forward thinkers to attend and participate in our meetings. ½ price memberships are available for the rest of the year.


Congressman Scott Peters serves California’s 52nd Congressional District, which includes the cities of Coronado, Poway and most of northern San Diego. First elected in 2012, he currently serves on the House Armed Services Committee & the House Judiciary Committee. He formerly served on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.

Scott Peters is a civic leader who has made improving the quality of life in San Diego his life’s work. 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. On the Council, Scott helped lead the $2 billion redevelopment of downtown San Diego, the cleanup of the city’s beaches and bays, and the completion of a number of major infrastructure projects. He also pursued greater accountability and efficiency in government through the creation of a new Council/Mayor form of government with an independent budget review function.

In 2001, the governor appointed Scott to the Commission on Tax Policy in the New Economy, and in 2002, the Speaker of the Assembly appointed Scott to the California Coastal Commission.

Scott also later served as chairman of the San Diego Unified Port District – a major economic engine that supports over 40,000 high-skill, high-wage jobs for San Diegans, with $3.3 billion in direct regional economic impact.

Scott earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University (magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and worked as an economist for the United States Environmental Protection Agency before attending New York University School of Law. He and his wife of 29 years reside in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, California, where they raised their son and daughter.

Lorena Gonzalez is the daughter of an immigrant farmworker and a nurse. She attended public schools in San Diego County before earning a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University, a master’s degree from Georgetown University, and a Juris Doctor from UCLA School of Law.

Gonzalez served as Senior Adviser to former California Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, as well as appointee to the California State Lands Commission and alternate on the California Coastal Commission. A community organizer and activist, Gonzalez was elected in 2008 as CEO and Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO. She is the first woman and person of color to be elected to head the Labor Council since the organization was founded in 1891.

Gonzalez ran for San Diego City Council during a 2005 special election and advanced to a runoff against future San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer. However, Gonzalez ultimately lost the race to Faulconer by a margin of 724 votes out of 29,448 cast.

Gonzalez was elected to California’s 80th State Assembly district in a special election held May 21, 2013. She defeated former Chula Vista Councilmember Steve Castaneda with 70.75% of the vote. Gonzalez currently serves on the Assembly Committee on Education, the Assembly Committee on Health, the Assembly Committee on Insurance, the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife; and the Assembly Committee on Rules. She is also the first Chair of the Select Committee on Women in the Workplace. Lorena Gonzalez lives in San Diego with her two children, Tierra and Antonio.

THIS JUST IN: SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez made Politico Magazine’s 50 “thinkers, doers and visionaries transforming American politics in 2016” list. According to the magazine, “Gonzalez might be the nation’s most ambitious progressive scientist.” Since 2013, Gonzalez has represented the 80th district, which includes much of southern San Diego and is the southernmost district in the state.

Politico calls Gonzalez “the brain trust for California’s most ambitious policy ideas,” citing her authorship of California’s automatic voter registration law, her co-authoring of the state’s $15 an hour minimum wage law, sponsorship of the law requiring student vaccination and her efforts to close the gender pay gap. However, the magazine states that “it’s Gonzalez’s trailblazing advocacy for mandatory paid sick leave that could make the biggest differencenationwide. In 2014, she wrote a law requiring every private-sector employer in California to provide paid sick days to employees—the first such state or federal law in U.S. history.”

Be sure to visit our booth at La Mesa’s Octoberfest on Sept. 30th, Oct. 1st and 2nd. More details available on our website Lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub.com and please like us on our fabulous Facebook page. Hope to see you at our next meeting on Wednesday, October 5th! More info: jeffbenesch@gmail.com


Moderator-Brian Adams

Brian Adams joined the political science department at SDSU in 2003 after earning his Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. Brian’s research explores why local governments do not live up to their democratic potential. As small jurisdictions, localities should be “closer to the people,” allowing for more extensive citizen participation and greater accountability. Yet participation in local government is dismally low, and local officials are often unresponsive to citizen demands. Local governments, rather than being hotbeds of democratic activity are often corrupt and unresponsive entities dominated by elites. What accounts for this pattern?

Brian’s research approaches this question from a few different angles. First, he has analyzed non-electoral participation in local politics in an effort to assess how citizens participate. His 2007 book Citizen Lobbyists found that citizens take advantage of the many opportunities they have to participate and benefit from their participation in terms of promoting favorable policy and acquiring knowledge about the policy process. But given the manner in which they participate and the issues they choose to influence there is little benefit to the political system as a whole. He has also done research on how citizens discuss policy issues, finding that they offer evidence to support their claims but usually neglect to tie evidence and conclusions together in coherent arguments. They also avoid working through disagreements, preferring to deflect or simply ignore opposing viewpoints. Deliberative conversations among citizens typically comprise of strings of conclusions and evidence without much coherence or back-and-forth exchange.

A second strand of Brian’s research has examined local elections as a democratic practice. His book Campaign Finance in Local Elections: Buying the Grassroots examines whether the campaign finance system undermines the capacity of local elections to enhance the democratic character of American elections more generally. As the smallest units in the American political system, localities have the potential to contribute to democratic practices by fostering accessibility to the political system, promoting competitiveness, and reducing the biases seen in state and national elections. Yet the manner in which local candidates raise and spend campaign funds undermines these goals. He is currently working on an article that explores whether voters use a candidate’s occupation, which is listed on the ballot in California, to make decisions in low-information local races.

The final line of research focuses on conceptualizing the relative benefits of local governance. In a recent article (“Assessing the Merits of Decentralization: A Framework for Identifying the Causal Mechanisms Influencing Policy Outcomes”) Brian developed a new theoretical framework that explicates the causal mechanisms through which decentralization (moving policy authority from central governments to local ones) alters the motivations and behavior of government officials. He is currently working on a research project that explores the problem of scale for participatory and deliberative democratic theory, asking whether these theories, which are best suited for small governmental jurisdictions, can be relevant in a world dominated by large governments and global issues.

In addition to research and teaching courses at SDSU, Brian has done two stints of teaching overseas. In 2009, he spent six months at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea on a Faculty Fulbright grant, teaching American Politics to Korean students and researching Korean local government, For the 2011-12 academic year he taught at the Hopkins-Nanjing center in Nanjing, China, teaching courses on democracy and American politics to Chinese master’s students.


Panelist-Pedro Rios, director of AFSC’s US/Mexico Border Program

San Diego Program Director

Areas of Expertise:

Immigration | US/Mexico Border

Pedro Rios serves as director of the AFSC’s U.S./Mexico Border Program and has been on staff with AFSC for 13 years. He is also chairperson for the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, a coalition of over 25 different organizations in San Diego working to support the rights of immigrants.

A native San Diegan, Pedro has worked on immigrant rights and border issues for over 20 years. He became active on immigration issues in the early 1990s, when California was debating the passage of Proposition 187, the anti-immigrant initiative that was later ruled unconstitutional.

Currently, Pedro is overseeing a program that documents abuses by law enforcement agencies, working with many community groups, advocating for policy change, and interacting with migrant communities. Pedro has been widely interviewed and published by the Associated Press, Univision, ABC10, NBC7, and  Think Progress, among others.


Panelist- Isidro Ortiz, Ph.D. Professor SDSU
Areas of Research: Community organization, educational reform, Chicana and Chicano politics, political movements, educational practice, policy and reform, college student retention, engagement and success; origins and persistence of Chicano nationalism and relationship to oppression.


La Mesa Oktoberfest 2016


La Mesa Oktoberfest—We need you!

Friday, September 30-Sunday, October 2, 2016

Help out at our Club Booth! We will be registering voters, handing out candidate campaign materials, and collecting donations for Clinton/Kaine campaign swag!

Bring a buddy and volunteer for a four-hour shift, it is fun, the people watching is outstanding, and you will be making a difference for Democrats. Please contact Steve Jesionka to sign up:  sjesionka@cox.net or 619-670-2379, thanks.





Local Dems to hear Emerald, Fink, Weber and Mattingly

Discuss Gender Politics


In our second installation of STARK CONTRASTS, La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will hear from a stunning panel of experts delve into the differences the parties have to offer voters this November about women’s issues. Beyond the fact that Democrats are looking to elect the first woman President in our nation’s history, and Republicans are running a man who is a serial misogynist, famous for insulting women, is losing even the support of Republican women, who’s being advised by Roger Ailes of all people, recently fired from his Fox News fiefdom for habitual sexual harassment, tells part of the story. We’ll also examine the platforms of the respective parties out of their national conventions.


Democrats support a woman’s right to choose, pay equity, raising the minimum wage, paid family leave, debt free higher education, access to family planning and affordable health care, middle class tax relief, higher taxes for the 2%, and equal opportunity for executive promotion, while Republicans offer as regressive a platform on women’s issues as we have seen in decades. Trump would name judges that share his economic and social views, while Clinton would look to further our judicial gains in social justice and equal treatment under law, preserving and extending voting rights, gender and racial equality, and economic regulation that works for our middle class, not just for the very wealthy.


Did you know that while women comprise 33% of the Democratic caucus in Congress, Republican women number less than 9% of electees. And their numbers are shrinking.

At our September 7th meeting, we’ll have a star studded panel discuss these issues and much more.

Marti-Emerald         weber pic

We’ll be honored to entertain 9th Dist. City Councilperson Marti Emerald, Assemblyperson Shirley Weber, SDSU Assoc. Professor Doreen Mattingly and local political analyst and strategist, and one of our repeat favorites, Laura Fink. The panel will be moderated by longtime club member Carol Perkins, herself a long time Women’s Studies professor at SDSU and elsewhere. These 5 women have a keen sense of the growing role of women in politics, business, education, and media, and will each offer a unique and personal perspective on their own struggles and achievements, the current political landscape, and how important it is that we share and educate voters this cycle of the consequences of choosing the wrong candidate and party, and the affect for future generations of all Americans and women in particular.

mattingly headshot

Doreen J. Mattingly is Associate Professor of Women’s Studies at San Diego State University (SDSU). She holds a PhD in Geography from Clark University, and MA from UCLA, and a BA from UC Berkeley. Dr. Mattingly regularly teaches courses titled: Women’s Work, Sex, Power, and Politics, Women in International Development, and Women’s Movements and Activism, and has led SDSU travel study trips exploring women’s lives in Asia, Latin America, and Europe. Her academic publications are on a range of topics, including women’s employment, domestic work, immigration, urban politics, feminist research methods, and women’s activism in the 1970s. She is the author of A Feminist in the White House: Midge Costanza, the Carter Years, and America’s Culture Wars.


Laura Fink is founder of the consulting firm Fink & Hernandez Consulting, LLC and assists political candidates and groups, corporations, nonprofits, and labor unions with communications, civic engagement, and public policy endeavors. Her experience includes facilitation of multi-million dollar campaigns for state and national political candidates. Her client list includes Speaker Toni Atkins, Congressperson Susan Davis, Councilmember Todd Gloria, Senator Marti Block and many others, including her fellow Wellesley College alum Hillary Clinton.


Laura more recently, and more visibly has become the political analyst of choice for several San Diego and national news outlets. It’s hard to watch a local news program during an election cycle without seeing Laura Fink prominently featured giving her views on an issue, candidate or political story.


When she isn’t directing a campaign or analyzing a political contest, Laura is very involved with San Diego Grantmakers. Laura developed statewide public policy outreach, strategy and communications collateral and executed plans for foundations, Grantmakers & nonprofit organizations to collaborate with elected officials to provide critical community services. The implementation phase included meeting with every state and federal elected official’s office in San Diego County, consolidating existing research and developing messaging and communications pieces for statewide use.


La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club serves members from the communities of San Carlos, Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, College Area, La Mesa, Mt. Helix, Santee, Casa de Oro, and other nearby East County communities. We meet the first Wednesday of every month at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Dr., La Mesa. Our meetings begin with a social 1/2 hour at 6:30 PM and all members and guests are welcomed. Please find us on Facebook or visit our website: Lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub.com


Carol Perkins after graduating from the University of Missouri in 1963 with an English major and Spanish minor, Carol went to Washington University in St. Louis as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and earned an M.A. in English. She earned a Ph.D. in Claremont Graduate University’s and San Diego State University’s joint doctoral program in higher education.


Carol’s professional career began at Grossmont College where she taught English for many years, and served on the committee that initiated the first Women’s Studies classes. Carol taught for 14 years at San Diego State University in the first department of Women’s Studies in the U.S. From 1987 to 1989, Carol was an administrator in the College of Education at SDSU. Leaving San Diego in 1989, she chaired the Women’s Studies program at Stephens College in Missouri, and then completed her career at Minnesota State University in Mankato where Carol became full professor and chaired the Department of Women’s Studies.


Carol has published in the fields of feminist theater; racial and ethnic factors in women’s educational histories; Mary McLeod Bethune and other Black women educators in the post-Civil War era; the impact of immigration on rural communities in Minnesota; English language learning strategies employed by Spanish speaking children in public schools; and the influence of pre-Columbian goddesses on the religious life of Colonial Mexico.


Carol was a founding member of Sisters On Stage, a feminist theater group that performed throughout Southern California in the late 1970s; I served on the boards of Heartland Human Relations Association, Charley Brown Preschool in La Mesa, and the Mankato (Minnesota) Coalition Against Domestic Abuse. For the past 6 years, she has coordinated La Mesa-El Cajon AAUW’s Women in History program, which brings living history presentations to elementary schools


Linda Armacost, President

Jeff Benesch, VP, Programming


La Mesa Oktoberfest 2016

Despite the hot weather, plans for our La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Oktoberfest booth are underway. Oktoberfest attendees will be thrilled with the enhanced venues and extra day in 2016. We need helpers at our booth to register voters, distribute campaign literature, and we will have Hillary/Kaine campaign buttons, bumper stickers, rally and yard signs available for a small donation.

Here are the dates and times for this year’s event:

Friday, September 30: 3 pm – 10:00 pm
Saturday, October 1: 10:00 am – 10:00 pm
Sunday, October 2: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

We welcome folks to sign up for a four hour time slot, ring a friend and have a blast! Please contact our Oktoberfest Chairperson Steve Jesionka either by email: sjesionka@cox.net or by phone at 619-670-2379.