Sanders-Clinton race takes center stage

Panel of supporters to debate for endorsement mayor’s contest, D1 and D3 also on docket

By Linda Armacost and Jeff Benesch

Trying to duplicate the scintillating series of candidate forums of the past couple of months, the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will tackle the presidential race at our March 2 meeting. Fervent supporters of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will battle for the club’s endorsement in an exchange that will highlight each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. There will be no trumping this exciting and emotional tiff between two great presidential candidates. Look for our talented celebrity panel of speakers and moderators in what should be the highlight of our pre-primary exhibitions.

The La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will tackle the presidential race

The La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club will tackle the presidential race

And that’s not the end of the evening’s outstanding agenda. We’ll also hear and vote on endorsements for Democratic candidates in San Diego city races in the key District 1 and District 3 contests. We’ve invited Chris Ward and Anthony Bernal to appear for District 3 and Barbara Bry in District 1.

Ward is Sen. Marty Block’s chief of staff and is committed to constituent services; facilitating public participation in policymaking; and organizing state and local resources to improving neighborhoods. Previously, he was an environmental planner at the firm EDAW, working with local government to develop land-use plans and conduct environmental review to help create inclusive, community-based solutions to neighborhood challenges and organize strategies to achieve long-term goals.

Bernal is the director of business and community projects for San Diego Councilmember Todd Gloria. He also served as a member of the Human Rights Campaign’s San Diego Steering Committee. Currently, he’s a founding member of the Cortez Hill Active Residents Group, Pure Water San Diego Working Group, and president of the San Diego Sigma Chi Alumni Chapter.

Bry is a high-tech entrepreneur and community leader. She was on the founding team of several local high-tech companies, including She taught entrepreneurship at UCSD and founded an organization that supports the advancement of women in the tech sector. Bry was honored as Small Business Journalist of the Year for San Diego and Imperial Counties by the Small Business Administration. She served as president of the board of the Children’s Museum of San Diego and as vice chair of the San Diego Jewish Community Foundation.

We’ll follow each of the forums with an endorsement vote.

We are also excited to have Lori Saldana, now running as an independent for mayor of San Diego. The former Democratic Assemblymember and long-time local politico has headlined our meetings on a couple of occasions, and always speaks truth to power, and will tell us why she’s the best candidate to replace Kevin Faulconer as mayor. As a friend of a host of progressive issues, Saldana finds agreement with most of the ideals and aspirations of our diverse membership.

Among many bills authored by Saldana was the landmark global warming legislation. She served in the Environmental Caucus and earned a 100 percent Sierra Club voting record during her six years in the Assembly.

For her work on behalf of veterans, Lori was named the 2006 Legislator of the Year by the California Association of County Veterans Service Officers.

The La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club meets the first Wednesday of every month at La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, just north of University Avenue.

We begin with a social half-hour at 6:30 p.m. with a variety of snacks, desserts and beverages provided by the club membership. Our meetings begin at 7 p.m. and we encourage all area progressives to join us for our interesting, stimulating and thought provoking programs. Visit our webpage at for a calendar, photos, and highlights of our community activities. Be sure to like us on Facebook.

– 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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