Party in the Park to celebrate Obama

By Linda Armacost and Jeff Benesch

La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will be saluting the many accomplishments and bid a fond farewell to President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle as they wrap up their nearly eight years in the White House. And we’ll have many notable guests to help commemorate the occasion with tributes, pictures, collectibles and remembrances.


Barack Obama

The Party in the Park comes in the middle of our Independence Week Celebration on Wednesday, July 6 from 6 to 9 p.m. We will again be at the Mission Trails Regional Park and Visitors Center. Our event will feature sub sandwiches, salads, desserts, talk and camaraderie on the beautiful patio overlooking the Park and the San Diego River canyon. It’s particularly convenient for our many members living in San Carlos, Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, La Mesa, Santee and the College Area. The dinner costs $5 for members and $15 for non-members. We’ll be signing up new members at the door.

Editor’s note: Jay Wilson clarified “The Mission Trails Regional Park Visitor Center is the venue for the event, however the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club  is paying to use the facility like all groups who rent the Visitor Center for an after-hour event.”

Jess Durfee, past chairperson of the San Diego County Democratic Party and current National Committee member and convention delegate, will describe his experiences with the Obama administration and the work being done in Washington D.C. for national issues of importance for Democratic progressives here and across the country. He’ll undoubtedly have some observations of the upcoming presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and the presumptive Republican nominee. Durfee, also a noted baker, will be a featured taster and judge of our now famous pie-baking contest. All attendees are invited to enter their best attempt at a delectable dessert to share with the 130-plus guests. Prizes to the best three entries.

Jess Durfee

Jess Durfee

We’ve invited a who’s who of county Democratic Party stars, including county chair Francine Busby and two service veterans to remind us of why we are able to celebrate our freedom and independence every July. Relating how their service experience helped shape their politics and world view will be vets Nathan Fletcher, former assemblyman and future office holder, and Doug Applegate, who just might upend our infamous nemesis Darrell Issa in their November congressional contest. There’s some chance that Applegate will be ahead of Issa in San Diego County after all votes are counted in a very unexpectedly close primary race. We also hope to be joined by our Congresspersons Scott Peters and Susan Davis, congressional candidate Patrick Malloy, Speaker Emeritus and future State Senator Toni Atkins. In addition, we’ll greet primary winners Supervisor Dave Roberts; Assemblyperson Shirley Weber; presumptive Assemblyperson Todd Gloria; City Council candidates Barbara Bry, Georgette Gomez, and Ricardo Flores; School Board District E leader Lashae Collins; and District Attorney finalist Mara Elliott. And there will be other surprise guests to be sure.

Another highlight of the evening will be a chat with naturalist Linda Hassakis who thrilled us last year with samples of flora and fauna that we can expect to find throughout the park. We are sure to experience something unexpected with this very knowledgeable and engaging speaker.

The feature of the evening will be our Obama Memorabilia Silent Auction featuring a variety of collectibles donated by our own JoDee Rich. A detailed pictorial and full description of the items can be found at our website, Among the items are framed 2008 Obama and other candidates’ limited edition comic books, inaugural posters, pictures, prints, tickets and invitations, framed Marvel comics “The Amazing Spiderman” limited edition “President’s Day Specials,” and much more. Bring your checkbooks! Inspect and bid on items at our website, and be sure to like us on our Facebook page.

—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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