Join us for our June Meeting!

Register here!

Join us on Zoom the evening of Wednesday, June 3, for our regular monthly meeting, with an all-star cast of local and national headline-makers that are all returning favorites of our club! 

We’ll hear from Congresswoman Susan Davis for one of the last appearances before her retirement at the end of this current term.  She’ll reflect on her many years of representing us in Congress, and the new and daunting challenges brought on by the coronavirus.  Congresswoman Davis will also fill us on on the latest attempts by the House to get a relief package through the Senate and White House — these funds are sorely needed by small businesses, families, cities, ports, transportation, hospitals, and schools in San Diego County.  

Be prepared to ask Susan tough questions as to the curiously mis-managed national response to the pandemic or any other issue that’s on your mind. What would you like for Congresswoman Davis to address? Send us your questions by replying to this email. 

Professor and political observer Carl Luna will help us understand what lies ahead in this new and challenging landscape for local candidates of all stripes. How can these candidates operate regarding campaigning, fundraising, voter outreach, and November turnout?  Will leading candidates be able to maintain their voter advantage?  Who benefits from likely massive mail-in voting?

Pundit and veteran political operative Laura Fink will also talk about local races — and we hope to hear her national predictions as well.  Can Joe Biden withstand a well-financed, but fact-challenged campaign by a largely unpopular president, who has seen his ratings drop south of 40% in many polls, following his bungled handling of the pandemic? Will President Obama’s decision to actively campaign for the Biden ticket propel the former VP to success in battleground states?  Who will be Biden’s running mate and how will she create votes and enthusiasm for the Democratic ticket?  What has caused white suburban women voters to run from Trump?

The County Supervisors are making headlines daily regarding their use of federal funds and county reserves to help with Covid-19 disaster relief.  The only Democrat on the San Diego Board of Supervisors, Nathan Fletcher, has been the face of the County in his frequent news conferences outlining the Board’s plans and strategies.  They’ve recently pledged $360 million dollars to the county’s response/recovery efforts.  The Supervisors have also petitioned the Governor to open hair salons, gyms, youth sports and some religious services, but in a controlled, responsible manner.  

Georgette Gomez will join us in her capacity as the powerful President of the San Diego City Council, as well as a candidate for Davis’s Congressional 53d District seat. She’ll talk with us about the city hold-up on accepting the SDSU proposal for the West Campus Stadium Area plan. Also, how will the city face the economic challenges of a diminished budget due to the virus, and the increased demands placed on the city for homeless sheltering, public safety, beach openings, increased cleaning and sanitizing of public areas, and more? What are the city’s options here — layoffs, curtailing city services, closing parks, diminished public safety?  How does the city generate sales and Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT) revenues with this lockdown in place?

We’ll have Gomez’s opponent in the Congressional race, Sara Jacobs, to talk about her efforts to campaign thru the pandemic and help provide relief to struggling people. 

Also, our own Chris Pearson, VP for Political Action, will give a primer on the many important down ballot seats seeking Democrat candidates, and how important it is that we challenge Republicans in each and every open contest throughout the county. In other words, you — yes, you! — need to run for local office! Chris will tell you why. 

That’s a great night — but it won’t be complete without you. The meeting starts on Zoom at 6:30 pm Wednesday, June 3, for social conversation. Programming starts at 7 pm. You’ll need to register ahead of time; do it here: 

Register here!

Also, the club will vote on endorsing local, state and federal candidates in the November election. Find the roster here:

Endorsement vote for Democratic Candidate

Jeff Benesch
VP Programming
La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club

Endorsement vote for Democratic candidates!

Mark your calendars for a jam-packed Zoom meeting of the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club Wednesday, June 3, at 7 pm. Among the business on the agenda: An endorsement vote for Democratic candidates for local office.

We recommend the club should endorse all Democrats who are running against Republicans, or running unopposed.

In cases where Democrats are running against Democrats, we follow a club tradition of not taking sides in that race and we see no need to break from that tradition this year. Individual club members and board members are free to support an individual candidate – we encourage it! – but the club as a whole supports all Democrats. So where Democrats are opposing other Democrats, we propose rating all candidates as “qualified.”

Read on for a list of suggested endorsements

Watch our stupendous “State of Our Communities” Zoom meeting

Our first general meeting on Zoom was a smash hit, a wide-ranging discussion with many community stars, including:

  • Toni Atkins, state senator representing San Diego, and President Pro Tempore of the Senate
  • La Mesa City Council member Colin Parent
  • La Mesa City Council member Akilah Weber
  • Sara Jacobs, candidate for US Congress, CA-53
  • Raul Campillo, candidate for San Diego city Council District 7
  • Elizabeth Lavertu, candidate for California State Assembly District 71
  • La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club President Tina Rynberg
  • LMFDC board member Sharon Cox

Also featuring a surprise appearance by Sen. Atkins dog, who was extremely well-behaved and stole our hearts.

We talked about how we’re doing as a community, and the outlook for getting back on our feet.

If you missed the meeting, you can catch the replay on YouTube. Watch it here:

We’re already starting to talk about next month’s meeting, and it’s looking great. Mark your calendar for the evening of Wednesday, June 3.

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

Local coronavirus updates | Meeting cancellation | Local elections

Greetings fellow La Mesa Democrats, friends and family: We hope you’re healthy, doing well in these troubling times, and have plenty of toilet paper. (But don’t hoard. Save some squares for the rest of us.)

April 1 meeting cancelled: It’ll come as no surprise to you that we’ve canceled the regular general monthly meeting, which had been scheduled for April 1. We’re looking forward to seeing you again when the crisis abates.

Looking ahead: Democracy continues in the face of the pandemic. Our March 4 general meeting was great — we were joined by San Diego County Democratic Party chair Will Rodriguez-Kennedy and former chairs Jessica Hayes and Jess Durfee, to break down the outcome of the California primary, which was the day before the meeting.

The host was Matt Strabone, local attorney and pundit and friend of the club. Matt’s doughty producer recorded the audio of the meeting, and you can listen to it on Matt’s podcast, Show in Progress With Matt Strabone. Good listening during this time of social distancing!

Was that meeting only two weeks ago? Amazing! Another era.

Good thing Matt and his producer got that recording, too — our own efforts to stream video of the event failed completely. We were not even able to get a video recording for posting later, which we have been doing recently on our YouTube channel (which you should absolutely subscribe to if you have not already; we have three videos up of our past great meetings, with more to come!)

Coronavirus news you can use: We’ve begun using the club’s Internet channels to get out news and information for members and their friends and family. These include:

Twitter: @lmfdems

Facebook: @lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub

Less frequent updates to the website, particularly the blog (which you’re looking at now)

And of course our email newsletter this mailblast, which will be more frequent than it has been (possibly several times a week, but maybe less than that, and certainly no more than 1x/day — we’ll see what seems appropriate.)

The focus will be on local news and news and information you can use and might have missed.

And anyone is welcome to subscribe and follow us; you don’t need to be a Democrat.


News you can use:

Coronavirus Self-Quarantine Will Likely Exacerbate Elderly Isolation – KPBS: If you’re not elderly and isolated yourself, check in with your neighbors who might be, if you can. But maintain that social distance!

San Diego Food Banks Prioritize Meals For Seniors As Coronavirus Increases Demand – KPBS

These restaurants in East County are offering take-out and/or delivery – East County Magazine

Looking for a way to pass the time during social isolation? You can get an e-book from the San Diego Public Library, notes San Diego Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, Democrat.

Prefer your books in paper form? The San Diego County libraries offer curbside book pickup during the pandemic – Times of San Diego

Mr. Fletcher also collaborated to launch the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response fund, “administered by the San Diego Foundation … and seeded with $1 million from SDG&E…. Grant funding will focus on three critical areas: food security, rental and utility assistance, and income replacement or gap funding. One hundred percent of donations will go to organizations helping San Diegans impacted by the health crisis.”

The City of La Mesa is opening up a limited number of five-minute parking spaces in the downtown village area for restaurants offering take-out service.

Mr. Fletcher says San Diego County has procured 1,472 motel rooms for people who have tested positive for Covid-19 or are exhibiting symptoms but don’t have a safe place to stay, including homeless San Diegans, seniors or people who live in group settings.

California Coastal Commission Chairman Steve Padilla, who’s also a member of the Chula Vista City Council, has been diagnosed with Covid-19 – he says it’s like the worst flu he ever had. If you’re sick, your experience may not be the same as Mr. Padilla’s — some people report mild symptoms and 18% have no symptoms at all.

The La Mesa Police Department lobby may be closed, but the police are still hard at work. Police may wear gloves, masks and other protective equipment when appropriate.

Neighbors helping neighbors:

Acts of kindness in San Diego amid coronavirus – CBS8: San Diegans offering to run errands through social media site Nextdoor

San Diego Community Volunteers for Coronavirus Response: A Facebook group where you can volunteer or ask for help. From the group: 5 Major Resources

Another community volunteer group: We All We Got SD Twitter: @weallwegotsd

Sara Jacobs, Democratic US Congressional candidate in local CA-53, provides tips on what you can do. And three more

`Information resources:

California’s Covid-19 site. (Via Sen. Toni Atkins)

How to Clean and Disinfect Yourself, Your Home, and Your stuff

Take the census online. The deadline is coming up. The Census makes sure we get our share of federal services and representation.

And finally:

Officers from the La Mesa Police Department stopped by the long line of shoppers waiting to enter the La Mesa CostCo and brought Starbucks coffee.

Let’s roll: San Marcos Couple Hopes to Wipe Away Stress With Toilet Paper – Times of San Diego: Claire and Parsegh Oksayan of San Marcos, owners of The Rush Coffee, a coffee truck, scored 96 extra rolls of toilet paper through their connections in the hospitality industry.

The duo, along with their children, took to the streets of San Marcos on Tuesday evening and left a roll of toilet paper at each doorstep. The toilet paper was packaged inside a gift bag with a note attached stating, “Hello Neighbor. We just wanted to say that we are thinking about you and are here to help if you need anything.”

The note ends with the couple’s contact information and a Bible verse.

Thats it for today people. Stay healthy, be brave, and look out for each other.

Join us Wednesday: In person if you can, virtually if not

We’re trying something different for Wednesday’s meeting: We’re going to try to stream live video of the meeting over the Internet, using Twitter specifically. If all goes well, just go to the club Twitter account, which is here:

tomorrow – Wednesday, March 4 – at 7 pm, and you can watch the proceedings live.

You don’t need to create a Twitter account.

We’ll be talking with a panel of local experts and luminaries to break down and analyze the primary results, with a focus on local races and what it means to our members. Find out more about the meeting, and other club goings-on, on our blog: Meeting Wednesday | Unity breakfast | RIP club co-founder Beverly Cassirer

Some of you may remember that we streamed meetings live in 2018 through early 2019 on Facebook, but that wasn’t working. Hopefully, this will work. Help us with the experiment, and let us know how it goes; email me at

It’s better to actually come to the meeting of course; you get to meet with your fellow Democrats, see the presentations live, and enjoy our delicious snacks (love those turkey roll-ups!). But we know that many of you can’t make it in person; hopefully this will be an alternative.

Social time starts at 6:30 pm, programming at 7 pm, and the location is the spacious La Mesa Community Center at 4975 Memorial Dr. in La Mesa – everyone is welcome!

Meeting Wednesday | Unity breakfast | RIP club co-founder Beverly Cassirer

Greetings, La Mesa Democrats! We’ve got a lot of ground to cover today: Our monthly meeting is Wednesday, the day after the primary, and we’ll break down the results then and there with a panel of experts. Then join us Friday for a unity breakfast featuring (former) rival primary candidates in San Diego Board of Supervisor District 3, uniting to support the general election candidate. And we say good-bye to club founder Beverly Cassirer.

After the primary: Our next meeting, Wednesday, comes on the heels of the California primary election. We’re convening a panel of experts to talk about what the voting means for advancing Democratic causes and candidates on the local, state and national level.

For the first time in recent political history, California’s quadrennial primary election will have a significant bearing on the Presidential race. Our state is the biggest in Super Tuesday and by the time voting closes, the delegate count and prospective leadership should be in much sharper focus.

Additionally, we have many local races of interest, including Congress, county, San Diego City Council, and more.

Join us Wednesday evening — in person if you can and on streaming online video if you can’t make it in person — , when the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will lean on a team of experts to give us their best analysis of the ballot results, why certain races trended the way they did, and who will face whom on the November ballot. We’ve confirmed the appearance of the head of the County Democratic Party, Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, who should have keen insights as to what went right or wrong for certain local candidates and whether county party-endorsed candidates and measures succeeded per slate recommendations.

Additionally, we’ve lined up the services of talented lawyer and pundit Matt Strabone to moderate our discussion. If you’ve caught Matt’s regular podcast, Show in Progress, you know he’s got a keen sense of the San Diego political scene and is a skilled interviewer. And we invited popular past county chairs Jess Durfee and Jessica Hayes to weigh in on the national, state and regional races.

Our experts will weigh in on several important local races: In the 53d Congressional District, longtime Representative Susan Davis, a stalwart Democrat, is vacating her seat, and quite a few candidates are vying to take her place (speaking of which, check out the video of our January meeting, where we hosted a forum between six Democrats vying for Davis’s seat).

In the 50th District, where Republican incumbent Duncan Hunter stepped down and faces possible prison time for misusing campaign funds, Ammar Campa Najjar is the Democrat looking to pick up that seat, and the Republicans are in a hotly contested primary. Who will be Campa-Najjar’s November opponent?

We also have many local races of interest: county supervisor contests; county-wide measures A and B, which deal with building in the back country; and Convention Center expansion measure C, which also includes resources for infrastructure repair and homeless support.

Additionally, we’ll look at San Diego City Council races, the mayoral and city attorney elections, and races in the state Assembly and for judgeships.

The meeting starts at 6:30 pm for a half-hour social time featuring snacks, salads, desserts and beverages supplied by the club and member donations. The business starts at 7 pm and we generally adjourn by 8:30 PM. We meet on the first Wednesday of every month at the spacious La Mesa Community Center at 4975 Memorial Dr. in La Mesa and everyone is welcome. Our club draws from the communities of La Mesa, Allied Gardens, Santee, San Carlos, Del Cerro, the College Area, Mt. Helix, Casa de Oro and other nearby East County enclaves. We are in the midst of our 2020 membership drive with annual memberships starting at $35.00.

Jeff Benesch, VP, Programming

Tina Ryneberg, President

Democratic unity breakfast: Three days after the Primary Election, you’re invited to join San Diego County Democratic Party leaders as we rally to support the Democratic candidate for Board of Supervisors District 3 who will be continuing to a runoff in November. Both Democrats in that race have confirmed their attendance.

WHEN: Friday, March 6 — breakfast at 8:00 a.m., media event at 8:30 a.m.

WHERE: 3954 Murphy Canyon Road, Suite D100, San Diego 92123 (the building behind the Party’s new office)

Following this invitation-only meeting and breakfast, a press conference will be held featuring candidates Olga Diaz and Terra Lawson Remer; Party Chair Will Rodriguez-Kennedy; County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher; and other Party, labor, and community leaders.

RIP LMFDC founder Beverly Cassirer: It’s with a heavy heart that we convey the sad news that Beverly Cassirer passed away February 13, 2020. She was 6 days shy of her 100th birthday.

On August 24th, 1984 in conservative East San Diego County, a group of 22 Democrats decided it was time to make their voices heard and their views known. Although prophesied that it was impossible, fearless leaders Beverly and Claude Cassirer were undaunted, and so the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club was born. Our club was politely described as a “political discussion group,” and by 1986 it boasted a membership exceeding 120 people. In an interview at the time the Cassirers said that while members shared party affiliation, there was a diversity of opinions among the club’s ranks. The discussions, they said, often proved quite lively.

“Sometimes I wonder why the neighbors don’t call the police on us!” Cassirer said with a laugh.

Outside La Mesa, Beverly is best known for her fight to reclaim an impressionist painting that the Nazis stole from her family, and which is now hanging in a museum in Spain. The painting is valued at $30 million. She died while the court case to reclaim the painting is still ongoing.

Beverly touched so many people in her long life and is the reason we have the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club. She will be greatly missed.

The LA Times has more in an obituary, including a reproduction of the painting.