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Foothill Dems examine gun violence at next meeting

By Linda Armacost and Jeff Benesch

At the 3rd Annual Party in the Park on July 6, the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club (LMFDC) filled the patio to overflowing at Mission Trails Visitors Center, as nearly 150 passionate progressives (including 20 new members) reveled in the glory of a nearly perfect summer evening. With the sun-tinged hills and cliffs as the backdrop, we dined on Cheers subs and home-baked pies; heard park naturalist Linda Hassakis enthrall with details of the 5 Peak Challenge, snake skins, and bobcat sightings; and listened to luminaries like Supervisor Dave Roberts, Party Chief Francine Busby, City Attorney candidate Mara Elliott, and D-9 finalists Ricardo Flores and Georgette Gomez. Lastly, we were thrilled to have our own board member Colin Parent announce his candidacy for La Mesa City Council in a well-received and very motivating speech.

colin parent - colinparent.org

Colin Parent (Courtesy of La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club)

Parent touched on the clear divisions in his race against two incumbents, one of which denies that climate change is real, and the other an ardent Trump supporter. Which brings us to the subject of our summer and fall meeting topics: stark contrasts between parties — Trump-ism versus the common good. Never have we had a presidential referendum quite so delineated as this one on almost every issue of national importance and discussion. Our meetings will cover gender equity, immigration policy, xenophobia, climate change and perhaps most relevantly, gun violence and the Republicans’ inability to enact or accept meaningful gun reform.

Our next meeting, Wednesday, August 3 at 7 p.m. at the La Mesa Community Center will feature an all-star panel of experts to discuss, dissect and divulge why the NRA has such a pistol-lock grip on the Republican Party, which even as we reel from the tragic events of the past few weeks, will not consider a renewal of the assault weapons ban, a limit on the size of ammo clips, enacting sensible background checks or closing the gun show loophole — all of which are wildly popular notions with the voting public.

Ron Marcus (Courtesy of La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club)

Ron Marcus (Courtesy of La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club)

Our panel will feature members of law enforcement, veterans and the Director of Public Outreach for the San Diego Chapter of the Brady Campaign, Ron Marcus.

The San Diego chapter of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence has been the voice of the national Brady Campaign in San Diego County for well over a decade. In the wake of so many recent tragic mass shootings, the chapter has grown rapidly, organizing into an even stronger voice for sensible measures to prevent gun violence. They believe in a balanced approach that ensures the rights of all to enjoy essential personal freedoms while maintaining a truly safe community.

In 1981, Jim Brady, White House Press Secretary under President Ronald Reagan, was shot in the head during an attempt on the President’s life. Remarkably, Jim survived, and was forced to spend the rest of his life in a wheelchair. After that, he and his wife Sarah founded the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and devoted the rest of their lives to crusading for sensible firearm legislation in the United States.

Ron Marcus serves as one of many volunteers on the board of the San Diego Chapter of the Brady Campaign to prevent gun violence. He became active in the chapter following the devastating Sandy Hook shooting tragedy. As Director of Public Outreach, he is responsible for marketing and media relations for the chapter, whose primary aim is to help reduce gun violence by educating the public and working with government at the local, state and federal levels.

Nathan Fletcher (Courtesy of La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club)

Nathan Fletcher (Courtesy of La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club)

Another panelist will be combat veteran and former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher. Fletcher currently teaches classes in the UCSD department of political science, mentoring and advising students and helping to develop public policy projects. He supports Democratic candidates and progressive causes; is a member of the national advisory board of Organizing for Action and is a member of many other progressive groups and organizations.

On March 13, 2013, Fletcher brought together law enforcement, community, business, labor and faith-based leaders to form San Diegans United for Common Sense Immigration Reform. The coalition came to an agreement to advocate for a pathway to citizenship, reform the immigrant visa system, smart border security, and basic human rights.

This year, it’s vitally important for San Carlos, Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, College Area, Santee, La Mesa and Mt. Helix Democrats to get involved with local and national politics as the stakes are higher than ever. There are generational changes pending on issues spanning immigration reform, women’s health, voting rights, Supreme Court appointments, climate change, living wages, Convadiums, open space, and so much more.

We meet the first Wednesday of every month at La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive at 6:30 p.m. Check out our website at lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub.com. Please join us soon.

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

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