Local politics the focus of next meeting

By Linda Armacost and Jeff Benesch

In another of our continuing series of election events, the April 6 meeting of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club may prove to be the best yet.

Michael Smolens

Michael Smolens (Courtesy of La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club)

Union Tribune politics and government editor, Michael Smolens, will highlight and review many of the hot button local issues veteran politics watchers are discussing. It will be a Q&A session that will cover whether San Diego Democrats are “done-in” by recent council redistricting that seems to favor Republicans in local primaries; his predictions on the most heated races; the effects of the Briggs initiative on local development and the Chargers stadium; SANDAG planning and politics; the effect of the presidential race on turnout; and more. Members and guests are encouraged to bring their own questions to be answered.

toddgloria hi res jpbweb

Todd Gloria (Courtesy of La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club)

As if Smolen was not enough, we will also welcome back old friend Todd Gloria to the club. Gloria, the San Diego City Councilperson who took over the mayorship in a very successful “sub” role, is looking to secure our endorsement for his run for the 78th Assembly Seat currently held by Toni Atkins. Atkins is termed out and running for Senate, but Gloria will remind us of his long progressive history in San Diego, initiating the Climate Action Plan among much else, and what his experience will bring to Sacramento.

And we’ll meet Ed Harris, the longtime progressive activist and head of the Lifeguards Union, and himself a “sub” on the San Diego City Council where he served when Kevin Faulconer was elected Mayor of San Diego. Now that Harris himself has challenged Faulconer for mayor in this year’s election cycle, he’ll teach us why the current mayorship is untenable for working San Diegans, and how his election will propel the city toward higher wages for hourly workers; ensure environmental safeguards are put in place for all future development; protect our beaches, bays and waterfronts for future generations; and why he’ll be more interested in focusing — with a full term as mayor — on city business and many regional problems, than running for higher office in 2018.

Ed Harris pic

Ed Harris (Courtesy of La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club)

Last on the docket, we’ll get caught up with the California Clean Money Campaign, with spokesperson James McCord. McCord will inform us about current efforts in the legislature, specifically the California Disclose Act, and the related Voter’s Right to Know Act. This initiative will go even farther in forcing all political ads to list the real backers and monied interests behind the ads. McCord is looking for volunteers to put the act on the ballot in November. Many of you may remember that McCord tabled with us at the March meeting.

Yard Sale

Don’t forget our fabulous fundraiser, the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club’s 8th Annual Yard Sale on April 23 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Perkins residence located at 5009 Randlett Drive in La Mesa.

Every year, hundreds flock to this sale to pick up the many bargains donated by our members. Its proceeds are key to our having our meetings at the wonderful venue we enjoy each month, and the publication of our very popular newsletter, the Progressive Voice. For more information, please visit our website at and like us on Facebook.

The La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club represents the communities of Grantville, Allied Gardens, San Carlos, Del Cerro, College Area, La Mesa, Santee, Mt. Helix, Casa de Oro, and many other East County neighborhoods. We meet the first Wednesday of each month at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive in La Mesa. Social hour begins at 6:30 p.m. with snacks and beverages, the meeting itself starting at 7 p.m. The meetings are open to the public and we encourage all local forward thinkers and progressives to check us out.

—Linda Armacost is president and Jeff Benesch is vice president of programming for the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club. Reach them at

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