By Linda Armacost and Jeff Benesch
The members and guests of La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club (LMFDC) have a real treat in store for their Wednesday, Nov. 4 meeting. An expert and newsworthy panel of five environmental activists will speak to our group about topics touching local, regional and national efforts to curb greenhouse gasses and promote sustainable living choices. Our efforts to transition San Diego County from a car-dependent, fossil fuel-guzzling, suburban-sprawling metropolis to one following action plans emphasizing intelligent growth, sustainable practices and a dedication to open spaces and public transportation, will be the focus of our guest speakers. LMFDC, drawing members from San Carlos, Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, College Area, La Mesa, Santee, Mt. Helix and other close by East County communities, meets the first Wednesday of every month at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, just North of University Ave.
This special meeting will kick off at 6:30 p.m. and be led off by Jim Stone and Colin Parent. Stone is the executive director and Parent is the policy council of Circulate San Diego, a regional grassroots organization that is dedicated to making our neighborhoods more vibrant and sustainable through better land use planning and design. Through educational events, training, advocacy, and work with local governments and SANDAG, Circulate San Diego is working to reclaim our streets and blocks through improved streetscape designs, accessible walking paths, more bike lanes, better transit routes, and traffic calming measures.
Stone’s career in environmental education, awareness and sustainability has spanned more than 30 years. He brings an ecological perspective to the issue of transportation, tying together the impact of walkable, transit-oriented communities on the environment, human health, social justice and the economy.
Parent is an East County native and graduate of NYU Law School, and the University of California, San Diego. Parent served on the Jerry Brown for Governor 2010 campaign and was appointed by Governor Brown as the Director of External Affairs for the California Department of Housing and Community Development. Prior to working for Governor Brown, he practiced law for three years as a commercial litigator at the San Diego office of the international law firm of DLA Piper US LLP. During 2013 and 2014, he served as the Director of Policy at the San Diego Housing Commission. Parent is a serial social entrepreneur in San Diego. He co-founded the San Diego Leadership Alliance, an organization that trains young San Diegans to be equipped for civic leadership. As a board member of the League of Conservation Voters San Diego, he chaired the first ever coalition to grade the environmental records of elected officials in the city of San Diego.
Next up will be Debbie Hecht of the San Diego Chapter of the Sierra Club. She’ll be advocating the Sierra Club’s proposed 1% Land and Water Fund. This effort would set aside 1 percent of San Diego county property taxes each year to purchase and maintain park lands, watersheds, open space and recreational land for San Diego County residents. This would not raise taxes, but require county supervisors to reallocate funds in the budget. One percent of real property taxes would be approximately $50 million each year.
Following Hecht will be long-time Democratic Party activists, Derek and Nancy Casady. They are acting as San Diego Climate Mobilization Coalition Coordinators.
The Climate Mobilization is a new, all-volunteer organization whose mission is to protect civilization and the natural world from catastrophic climate disruption. They are dedicated to living in climate truth and believe that working to solve the climate crisis is everyone’s responsibility. Dozens of leading environmental analysts have determined that the only way to save civilization from climate change is with a wartime-style mobilization, akin to the American homefront effort during World War II. This stark appraisal lies at the heart of this project. In that sense, The Climate Mobilization is a single-issue campaign. They demand a WWII-scale mobilization to restore a safe climate.
You won’t want to miss our annual Holiday Meeting, Dec. 2, featuring not only a lavish meal of roast turkey, baked ham and all the trimmings, but also the wit and comic wisdom of Roy Zimmerman –– musician and satirist –– returning for an encore presentation to what we expect will be a full house. Look for information in next month’s issue of the Courier and also on our website.
––Linda Armacost is president and Jeff Benesch is vice president of programming for the La Mesa Fothills Democratic Club.