Club Meeting This Thursday at 7pm!

Democrats for Equality,

Yesterday, I joined LGBT activists in taking a stand against the Morris Cerullo Legacy International Center being built in Mission Valley. This project has been less than transparent, threatens to further congest an already heavily trafficked area, violates several codes and could worsen the environmental health of the region. In addition to that, Morris Cerullo is a proponent of gay conversion therapy, a practice which was outlawed in California and has been discouraged by medical professionals.

Because of the City Attorney’s guidance that council members make their decision based on specific criterion I and other activists restrained our comments to the environmental and traffic impacts. In a stunning display of mendacity and hypocrisy the council member from District 2, Lorie Zapf, decided to attack our discretion and suggested that we were attacking the “free speech” of religious groups and suggested that no one had called her office about this issue. A statement we know to be false. Councilmember Zapf has had a checkered past with the LGBT community including once saying “I absolutely want to keep homosexuals out of public office and not be allowed to influence our schools, textbooks, altering marriage, children and on and on.”

Here is the deal: Gay Conversion Therapy is not a matter of religion it’s a matter of science. The American Psychological Association condemns the practice as “unscientific” and “unethical.” There is also no real basis for the practice in the religious texts of any of the religions, and certainly not Christianity. The idea that Councilmember Zapf would call into question the motives and integrity of LGBT community leaders concerned about a person who promotes harmful, unscientific, unethical and illegal practice building a legacy project unto himself that hurts our environment and increases the horrible situation with traffic in the center of our region, is astonishing. It also calls into question whether or not the various members of the LGBT community may have been to generous in accepting her apology for her misguided views. (Oh and just moments ago she criticized the efforts of club member and Council Member Georgette Gomez in her efforts to resist the Trump Border Wall!)

We will consider this specific race on November 16th but one thing is certain: We must defeat Council Member Lorie Zapf in 2018. She is currently exploiting a dubious legal loophole to run for an unprecedented 3rd term in office which clearly runs counter to the intent of voters who implemented the two term limit.

Anyways, here is a reminder for our meeting this week. We will be meeting this Thursday, September 21st at 7pm at the Joyce Beers Community Center. Here is the Agenda:

7pm Call to Order
President’s Report
Consideration of Friendly Incumbent Endorsement: Chula Vista Mayor
Consideration of Friendly Incumbent Endorsement: CA Assembly AD 79
Consideration of Friendly Incumbent Endorsement: CA Assembly AD 80
Consideration of Friendly Incumbent Endorsement: US House CD-52
Consideration and Forum: US House Congressional District CA-50
Board Elections: Nominations Committee Report, Nominations and Elections
(2 Board Member At Large Seats)

Chula Vista Mayor Mary Salas, Assemblymember Shirley Weber, Congressman Scott Peters have all been confirmed for their friendly incumbent Q & A.

Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez has already fulfilled her requirement to appear before the club.

We have a LOT to do so don’t forget to join us THIS THURSDAY at the Joyce Beers Community Center.

In Solidarity.

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy
San Diego Democrats for Equality

Remembering Edith “Edie” Windsor

Democrats for Equality,

This afternoon, we learned that Edith Windsor passed away. She was 88.

Edith’s landmark case before the U.S. Supreme Court struck down DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) in one of the seminal moments for LGBT rights in history. Marriage equality became the law of the land.

President Obama offered some thoughts on her passing.

I had the privilege to speak with Edie a few days ago, and to tell her one more time what a difference she made to this country we love. She was engaged to her partner, Thea, for forty years. After a wedding in Canada, they were married for less than two. But federal law didn’t recognize a marriage like theirs as valid – which meant that they were denied certain federal rights and benefits that other married couples enjoyed. And when Thea passed away, Edie spoke up – not for special treatment, but for equal treatment – so that other legally married same-sex couples could enjoy the same federal rights and benefits as anyone else.

On behalf of San Diego Democrats for Equality… Thank you, Edie. Your actions helped change the world for millions. You will be missed.

I want to thank Jose Caballero and the San Diego Progressive Democratic Club for co-hosting an incredibly successful Picnic w/ Progressives last weekend. We had a great turnout of members from both clubs, as well as new folks who were interested in joining — and becoming active — in both!

We even discussed making it an annual event. The partnership between both clubs who were at once supportive of Hillary and Bernie, we recognize, can be stronger by being united for a common cause.

Also last week, we welcomed NextGEN America Founder Tom Steyer to our new club office in Hillcrest to meet and greet with our new staff, and to talk about our goals and expressed his confidence in our club and our efforts.

Our staff has been hard at work building the infrastructure for our voter engagement and registration efforts. Last weekend, we engaged in voter registration efforts at South Bay Pride. Chula Vista Councilmember Steve Padilla and our endorsed candidate for County Sheriff Dave Myers stopped by.

Reminder about our next club meeting… it’s coming up on Thursday, September 21. We will be meeting at 7:00pm at Joyce Beers Community Center in Hillcrest. Here’s our endorsement considerations for the meeting:

  • Friendly Incumbent in Assembly District 80
  • Friendly Incumbent in Congressional District 52
  • Congressional District 50 Forum

Schedule depending, we may be entertaining Friendly Incumbent endorsements in Congressional District 53, Assembly District 79, and Chula Vista Mayor as well.

In Solidarity.

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy
San Diego Democrats for Equality

In Solidarity w/ Labor and Dreamers

Labor leaders (and several club members) decorated the Cardiff Kook in honor of the American Labor Movement. H/T Carol Kim for the image.

Democrats for Equality,

This Labor Day weekend, many of our local labor leaders (and several club members) decorated the Cardiff Kook to remind passersby about the history and importance of our American Labor movement.

Like so many under assault from the Trump Administration, workers’ rights, labor rights, and wages are under attack. For example, our brothers and sisters in St. Louis recently had their minimum wage cut back from $10 to $7.70 — almost a fourth of their hourly paycheck gone.

Can you imagine losing a fourth of your income?

We have a lot to be thankful for towards our brothers and sisters in the American Labor movement. The way that Veterans Day honors those who have served, Labor Day honors those have worked to build, craft, and shape America. Since the late 1800s, they’ve been fighting for us to provide better working conditions, higher wages, and a seat at the bargaining table.

However, despite all their success, the fight is far from over.

Nationally, labor will be targeting politicians in the Midwest who have continued to vote to rig the rules, and suppress wage increases for working families.

Locally, SEIU Local 221 recently voted to go on strike against the county for unfair labor practices. Unless the county comes back to the bargaining table in good faith, workers will strike on Sept. 12 and 13. San Diego Democrats for Equality will absolutely stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in this fight.

If you’d like to help in this effort, contact our County Board of Supervisors and tell them to get back to the table in good faith. Supervisors’ office numbers below:

  • District 1 – Greg Cox – (619) 531-5511
  • District 2 – Dianne Jacob – (619) 531-5522
  • District 3 – Kristin Gaspar – (619) 531-5533
  • District 4 – Ron Roberts – (619) 531-5544
  • District 5 – Bill Horn – (619) 531-5555

Although they are all Republicans, both Ron Roberts and Bill Horn are FINALLY termed out next year in 2018. Our club recently endorsed Nathan Fletcher for Supervisor in District 4, and will be considering an endorsement in District 5 soon.

Photo credit: NBC News

Speaking of another unfortunately targeted group by the Trump Administration, let’s talk dreamers.

Late last night, we all began hearing reports that Trump is considering ending the DACA program. Local NBC 7 talked to a student studying to become a psychologist who will be impacted by this decision.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has given countless Americans the opportunity to achieve the American dream without fear or retribution from deportation. There are 40,000 families eligible under DACA in San Diego County, according to Alliance San Diego.

In addition to the cruel and inhumane nature of this decision it seems lost on Donald Trump that such a move is also economically damaging to the country. Here is a look state-by-state of the estimated GDP loss from removing DACA workers.

Growing up in both New York and Florida, many of my friends were dreamers. Because of DACA, they’ve been able to earn degrees, start their own business, create jobs, and offer help and assistance to their families. For so many of them, the American dream was a foreign concept.

Yesterday, it was a reality. Today, those dreams were dashed.

We must fight for them.

In Solidarity.

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy
San Diego Democrats for Equality

Houston Strong.

Democrats for Equality,

This week, my heart broke. Houston — the city I grew up in… the city I lived in for the better part of 18 years… was completely devastated by historic flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

I’ve lived through my fair share of tropical storms and hurricanes, but nothing could’ve prepared me for what I saw this past week. Seniors sitting in waist-high water in a retirement home, hoping — praying for help to arrive.

Helpless animals abandoned in cars left in driveways, their owners ill-prepared to escape the flash floods in their neighborhoods.

The unbelievable story of families who were affected and displaced by Hurricane Katrina 12 years ago, only to end up losing everything all over again.

ABC News covered legendary Houston businessman Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale who opened his store’s warehouse to help house those displaced from the storm. “To hell with profits, let’s take care of these people,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do.”

With family in both New Orleans and Houston, I am absolutely thankful that we have lucky twice however, as history has shown, these historic weather events are increasingly becoming a yearly occurrence. We may not be lucky a third time.

Hitting close to home for me, however, was the site of my alma mater Mayde Creek High School. Home to 2,700 students — 52% classified as low-income — Principal Ronnie Edwards shared on his Facebook page that many of them had lost everything.

Mayde Creek High School

Personally, I have committed to help purchase items on their Amazon Wish List. They are in need of backpacks, socks, deodorant, pillows, towels, etc. It’s the absolute least I can do being half-way across the country.

Granted, there are other ways to help give back to folks in Houston as well. Probably one of the best ways, is to help our working families through the Texas AFL-CIO Relief Fund. Our unfortunate brothers and sisters there live in a right-to-work state, so they can definitely use the extra help.

Part of what makes this so difficult, is how much of the serious damage and destruction could have been prevented if we — as a society — took climate change a little more seriously. California often leads the way on these issues, and yes, we can and and should strive to be better.

Sadly, many of our elected leaders and policy makers in states like Texas deny the overwhelming existence of such things. They’re often profit-driven by special interests and wealthy developers who covet money and material possessions over mankind.

CNN had an excellent report that covered several reasons of why flooding was so catastrophic, namely urban sprawl, poor land management, and weak rules and regulations — Houston is notorious for having little to no zoning laws. Can you imagine San Diego with no zoning?

Family waits to be rescued from their flooded home in Houston on August 28.

The best we can hope for is that this will serve as a wake-up call. However, as I mentioned earlier, the devastation from Hurricane Katrina was 12 years ago. Do you think America has gotten more serious about climate change since then?

“Ram Pride Never Dies” and neither should our resolve to continue this necessary fight on climate change to save our environment, and our planet. Let’s join together and help our fellow Americans begin the long road to recovery. Let’s rebuild. Let’s recharge. Let’s do this.

Houston Strong. In Solidarity.

Ryan Trabuco
Vice President for Resource Development
San Diego Democrats for Equality

Club Member Highlights: Mike Thaller

Mike Thaller

Michael Thaller grew up in a very political family. He worked on his uncle’s campaign for City Council when he was 15 years old and has been an active Democrat ever since. He moved to San Diego in the late 1970s to teach Television and Film Production at San Diego State University.

Mike first joined the South Bay Democratic Club, and eventually founded and became president of the Eastlake-Bonita Democratic Club. He became involved with the San Diego County Democratic Party’s Central Committee, and spent six years on the party’s Executive Board as Director of Media Relations. Mike eventually ran in the ADEM Elections, and was elected to the California Democratic Party’s Executive Board, and was eventually elected Chair of the Progressive Caucus.

A stalwart progressive activist, Mike is also the Chapter Leader of the San Diego Chapter of the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), and had the opportunity to be a Bernie Sanders DNC delegate to the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

This year, Mike was a candidate for Controller of the California Democratic Party, waged a competitive race, and received endorsements from party leaders and elected officials throughout the state. Recently, he became Co-Chair of the California Democratic Party’s Organizational Development Committee, where he will be introducing ideas to empower activists within the party through the Caucuses, Clubs, Central Committees, delegates, voters, and the legislature.

Our members make history. Join or renew your membership here.