By Linda Armacost
Last year, La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club took a big gamble and held its first ever meeting away from the friendly confines of the La Mesa Community Center. Due to overwhelming positive feedback and a great turnout of 120 members and guests, this year’s event at Mission Trails Regional Park promises to be even bigger and better.
The Party in the Park kicks off our Independence Week Celebration on Wednesday, July 1 from 6 to 9 p.m. We will again be hosted by Jay Wilson and the terrific staff of the MTRP Foundation and the Visitor and Interpretive Center. And again, our event will feature dinner, 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 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.
Along with dinner, we’ll have a couple of fascinating speakers, some local beer and wine tasting, a silent auction and our famous pie tasting competition. The highlight of the evening will be a recognition of Councilmember Marti Emerald for her many years of outstanding service to San Diego, first as the consumer reporter for Channel 10 and then as an outspoken advocate on the San Diego City Council. Many of us got to know Marti and worked diligently for her first election in the District 7 race in her Allied Gardens office. She’s been a terrific friend of the club, and this is our last opportunity to thank her for the many contributions she’s made to progressive causes on the Council. Marti retires from her current District 9 office at the end of this current term.
Linda Hassakis, Trail Guide and Event Coordinator at the Park will give us a fascinating talk on the native flora and fauna along with some natural history of the park. “Mission Trails Regional Park: A Model for Sharing” will include some great info about the San Diego River and ongoing conservation efforts. It should be a great education for us all.
We also expect to hear from Rep. Scott Peters, in whose district the Mission Trails Visitor and Interpretive Center resides. We hope he’ll be able to give us an update on what’s going on in the mostly deadlocked House of Representatives, and of course, his strategy to keep his seat in Democratic hands in 2016.
Francine Busby, chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party, will also be joining us, as will Jess Durfee, member of the Democratic National Committee. We’ll be hearing from Justin DeCesare, candidate for the District 7 City Council seat, which should develop into a heated race with the incumbent. We’ll all have a great opportunity to schmooze with other outstanding candidates for many of the crucial contests both in the City of San Diego, and other areas of the county.
Another major announcement: Our Aug. 5 meeting back at the La Mesa Community Center will feature none other than Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins! We’ll be thrilled to hear the speaker address crucial updates from the Capitol, including environmental issues, the minimum wage, affordable housing, banning imports of ivory, education bills, drought actions, LGBT issues and much, much more. Don’t miss it.
And our June 3 meeting was quite the revelation for our membership when retired Rear Adm. Len Hering, director of the Center for Sustainable Energy and 32-year Navy veteran, surprised us all with an “adult conversation” about the realities of Climate Change. Saying he was doing this for his three grandchildren and their futures, he presented a 70-minute PowerPoint presentation that showed just how dire the future is unless we act quickly and decisively to reverse our common habits of water waste, wanton overuse of fossil fuels, and reliance on old, easy choices. His studies and experiences show — and there were many graphs and charts to prove it — that we Americans, while comprising about 5 percent of the world’s population, use about three quarters of the world’s resources. And the developing world is growing in population and essential needs at a much faster rate than we care to recognize. Much of the world is running short of potable water, energy and sanitary housing. It made us all think a little harder about our big meals and long showers, that’s for sure. Let’s hope that we can all work to elect decision makers that acknowledge global climate change and the importance of how our actions today affect for the sustainable future of our species.
Please visit our website at lamesafoothillsdemocraticclub.com and like us on Facebook. We hope to see many more of our progressive friends at Mission Trails Park on July 1.
—Linda Armacost is president of the La Mesa Foothills Democratic Club.