By Yahairah Aristy and Jeff Benesch
La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will start the 2018 election year with a stellar roundtable featuring some of San Diego’s best known pundits and politicians.
The Wednesday, Jan. 3 panel will examine some of our area’s most pressing problems; preview the June and November elections; and opine on the impact of our continuing national nightmare, as well as local initiatives that will dominate the news in the early part of 2018.
Our forum participants are San Diego City Councilmember Chris Ward, La Mesa City Councilmember Colin Parent, KPBS news director Mark Sauer, political analyst Laura Fink and campaign consultant Eva Posner.
Our roundtable will be hosted by Scott Lewis, editor and CEO of Voice of San Diego, which made a name for itself by producing hard-hitting investigative reports along with civic engagement opportunities that give residents a platform to discuss and debate issues that impact our quality of life.
In city of San Diego politics, it’s hard to read a story on affordable housing, homelessness, infrastructure, LGBT issues, environmental policy and short-term housing rentals without seeing Ward’s influence and initiative. Since these issues are ongoing and relevant, it will be fascinating to hear the council member’s take on the direction of the city in tackling these issues which affect our entire region.
Ward represents San Diego City Council District 3, which includes the Downtown and Uptown areas. He serves as chair of the Select Council Committee on Homelessness, vice chair of the Infrastructure Committee, and as a member of the Environment, Rules, and Public Safety & Livable Neighborhoods Committees, as well as vice chair of the San Diego County Regional Task Force on the Homeless.
Many of Ward’s progressive bonafides can also apply to Parent, our former board member, who now pushes the La Mesa council in directions they’ve never gone before. SANDAG, affordable housing, rental policy, smart growth, homelessness, the Climate Action Plan and transit issues are all at the top of Parent’s council priorities.
Parent was elected to La Mesa City Council in November 2016 and works as executive director and policy counsel at the nonprofit Circulate San Diego. He is responsible for advocating for affordable transit, safe and walkable neighborhoods, and effective land-use policy.
Sauer will be returning as a panelist to our club, and is familiar as the regular moderator of the popular weekly news show, “KPBS Round Table.” From border walls, real estate values, jail deaths and homeless tents, to sexual harassment and sea-level rise, “Round Table” has covered them all. If there is a local issue of import, Sauer will offer an expert opinion if a solution to that problem is happening in 2018.
Another returning and popular panelist, Fink has participated in club forums on women’s issues, media influence and election processes. She shares her political opinions as a regular analyst on Fox News5 in San Diego, so we have every confidence she’ll be one of our most trusted prognosticators.
Posner is a first-time panelist with LMFDC, and will offer a unique look at the local election scene. As owner of her own political consulting firm, she is indelibly connected to the local Democratic political apparatus. She even spent the 2016 election cycle as the communications coordinator of the San Diego County Democratic Party.
LMFDC draws members from San Carlos, Allied Gardens, Del Cerro, La Mesa, the College Area, Santee, Mt. Helix, Casa de Oro and other nearby communities.
Meetings are held the first Wednesday of every month at La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, starting at 6:30 p.m.
For more information, visit lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub.com and like us on Facebook.
— Yahairah Aristry is president and Jeff Benesch is vice president of programming of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club. Reach them at firstname.lastname@example.org.