Post-Convention Highlights

Democrats for Equality,

Hope some of you were able to enjoy the festivities at last weekend’s California Democratic Party Convention!

The CDP issued endorsements in some of the statewide races, which also include our club’s endorsed candidates:

  • Betty Yee for State Controller
  • Ricardo Lara for Insurance Commissioner
  • Alex Padilla for Secretary of State
  • Tony Thurmond for Supt. of Public Instruction
  • Fiona Ma for State Treasurer

Congratulations to longtime club member Bob Jellison on receiving the Region 20 Volunteer of the Year Award!

Bob is also a former Chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party, and served our country honorably in the U.S. Navy, retiring in 1975 with the rank of Captain.

CDP Regional Director Craig Roberts presented the award on stage during Sunday’s General Session.

Congratulations again Bob!

Of course, I wouldn’t be able to finalize a report from the CDP Convention without recognizing our Club President, Will Rodriguez-Kennedy — and his notable election as President of California Young Democrats.

Will is the first CYD President from San Diego in nearly three decades. Feel free to check out his speech from General Session on our Facebook page. Club member Jennifer Sosa was also elected as Vice President of Operations within CYD.

Congratulations again to Will and Sosa!

Speaking of Sosa, she is also the Western Regional Field Director for the DCCC this election cycle. In her efforts to help flip the U.S. House of Representatives away from Trump Republicans, she is hosting DCCC University in Anaheim NEXT TUESDAY — March 6th.

DCCC-U is an unpaid training program for those interested in learning skills that may be useful for future employment with campaigns, state parties, or other political actors. Acceptance into the program is not an offer of employment with DCCC.

Finally, Dr. Jen Campbell is making house calls — meaning she is out knocking on doors and talking to voters in City Council District 2. We have a real opportunity to flip this council district and defeat 8-year Trump Republican incumbent Lorie Zapf.

Dr. Jen’s campaign is hosting a walk and BBQ lunch this Saturday, March 3rd from 11am to 2pm at NTC Liberty Station. Democrats for Equality is co-hosting along with the Clairemont Democratic Club, so we’d love a strong showing for our endorsed candidate! If you’d like to join the club this weekend, RSVP with Emily Bonner at 858-740-7452.

Let’s rock!

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

Club Member Highlight: Larry Baza

Larry Baza is a professional arts administrator with 41 years of experience advocating for the arts at the local, state, and national level.

He was recently named Vice Chair of the California Arts Council, and was appointed by then-Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins in 2016.

He is the immediate past Chair of the City of San Diego’s Commission for Arts and Culture, has served on the Port of San Diego’s Public Art Committee, and as Executive Director of the County of San Diego’s Public Arts Advisory Council.

Mr. Baza has served on the boards of nonprofit arts organizations and as a grant panelist for arts commissions and foundations. He has directed San Diego arts organizations including Centro Cultural De La Raza, Sushi Performance and Visual Art, and Community Arts of San Diego.

His wealth of knowledge and experience includes affiliations, consultancies, site visits and panel participation with arts organizations including the National Endowment for the Arts, California Arts Council, California Association of Local Arts Agencies, Chicano Federation of San Diego County, National Association of Latino Arts and Culture and the San Diego Community Foundation.

Larry is a President Emeritus of San Diego Democrats for Equality.

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

Todd Gloria’s New Role in the Assembly

Democrats for Equality,

Earlier this week, something big happened that you may not have noticed. Our very own Assemblymember Todd Gloria added a new title to his resume and was named Interim Speaker Pro Tempore of the California State Assembly.

What does this mean? What does this do?

It means that on an interim basis, Assemblymember Gloria will exercise the duties and powers of the Assembly Speaker in their absence, and will conduct and preside over Assembly floor sessions. You can check out Todd presiding over his first floor session here on The California Channel.

Congratulations Todd!

In Solidarity,

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy
San Diego Democrats for Equality

Club Member Highlight: Georgette Gómez

Georgette Gómez is the daughter of working class immigrants, and learned at an early age the importance of giving back to the community and helping those less fortunate. After attending Serra High, she earned a B.A. in Environmental and Natural Resource Geography from San Diego State University, and worked to become the Associate Director of the Environmental Health Coalition where she led the fight against neighborhood polluters, advocated for stricter laws on lead paint that threatened the health of children, and helped expand affordable housing for seniors and low income families.

Gómez is the first LGBTQ Latina elected to the San Diego City Council. During her first year, she began holding community office hours at the City Heights Recreation Center, supported numerous events that celebrated our immigrant and refugee communities, presented a resolution in opposition to Donald Trump’s Border Wall, and made a significant impact in housing policy by proposing a variety of new housing regulations intended to encourage an increased supply of housing.

Georgette Gómez was recently named Chair of the Metropolitan Transportation Systems (MTS) Board of Directors. She is also an elected ADEM delegate for the California Democratic Party, and has been a longtime club member, at one time serving as our club’s Vice President for Political Action.

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

An Open Letter to Congressional District 49 Candidates: There are TOO MANY DEMOCRATS in this race.

Democrats for Equality,

Recently we all found out the exciting news that one of the worst congressional representatives in congress, Darrell Issa is retiring. It’s easy for us to look at his retirement and think: Yay! We won!

Don’t do that.

This is horrible news.

By removing the rallying point of the resistance we have now entered an even tougher fight to take back the House and check the horrible Trump agenda.

Let’s first talk about the math: If the 49th Congressional District was a Democratic seat. Let’s say it was 60% Democrat and 40% Republican then a race with 2 Republicans and 4 Democrats is a loss for Democrats. Why?

40 ÷ 2 = 20 whereas 60 ÷ 4 = 15 (LOSE)

That means that if Republicans field too solid candidates that could yield a split in their vote (as Rocky Chavez and Diane Harkey definitely could) and Democrats do the same on their side (definitely likely) that means this could end up a Republican on Republican race that ends up shutting out Democrats.

That’s why it is time for the Democratic candidates in the 49th Congressional District to make a hard choice.

“A few Democrats must put the country or the movement ahead of their own ambition.”

Last month the San Diego Democrats for Equality whittled down the field to two candidates: Sara Jacobs a millenial with an impressive resume for her age and who would be the youngest woman elected to congress and Col. Doug Applegate (USMC Ret) who nearly beat Issa last time, is a retired Marine Corps Colonel and Attorney who has captured the heart of many progressives. We think these two might provide the best opportunity to winning this race and possibly even shutting out the Republicans.

Here is the math:

40 ÷ 2 = 20 whereas 60 ÷ 2 = 30 (WIN)

With Doug Applegate’s name recognition and progressive excitement and Sara Jacobs’ well financed and rapidly growing campaign (she is likely to out raise all of her opponents check the FEC reports at the end of the month) we could have two Democrats who could not only win but SHUT OUT Republicans in the general election. This may very well be the ONLY way to win this race.

Anyone else should probably sit this one out, there will be more races to run.

Now you might think: Well it’s unfair to ask candidates to not run. You’re right. In an ideal situation I would advocate that as many candidates run and a contest of ideas prevail but this is not an ideal situation. Republicans are plotting to shut us out of this race and if that happens we lose a seat. We don’t get progress for DACA dreamers, we don’t advance a progressive agenda, we don’t protect the rights of women, LGBTs and people of color and we don’t get a congress that checks the horrible “s*** hole” administration we have in office right now.

That means for the talented and impressive former Air Force officer Christina Prejean who is thinking about joining race, your entrance would make it nearly mathematically impossible for you or a Democrat to win.

That means the kind and classy navy veteran Paul Kerr, I met with you and your are a good guy, but your participation in this race may make it mathematically impossible for you or a Democrat to win.

That means for Mike Levin, who has secured a host of outside endorsements and some from party leaders but failed to receive even a half dozen votes at the our endorsement meeting and embarrassingly received only 2 votes at the California College Democrats endorsement meeting (after waging a scorched earth, intimidation campaign). Your participation in this race may make it mathematically impossible for you or a Democrat to win.

This isn’t fair. I understand that. I understand that some of these candidates have placed a lot of time, sweat and tears into these campaigns but the reality is that the movement for Justice and Equality is not about any one individual.

Party leadership, and movement leaders should work to help encourage candidates into other races where they can be helpful. Otherwise, we lose.

In Solidarity,

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy
San Diego Democrats for Equality

Club Member Toni Atkins Continues to Make History!

Democrats for Equality,

Our members continue to make history, and one of our longtime club members has done it again!

Big news was mentioned early this morning by the L.A. Times, and was made official later by Senate Pro Tem Kevin de León — our very own State Senator Toni Atkins has the unified backing of her colleagues to become the next leader of the California State Senate.

This is historic for a number of reasons.

As mentioned in the L.A. Times article, Toni Atkins will be the first woman to serve as President Pro Tem in California history, she will be the first LGBT leader of the state senate, and will be the first former Speaker of the Assembly in 146 years to serve as senate leader.

On behalf of all of our club members, we are so extremely proud today.

#Ourmembersmakehistory #womenlead #trustwomen #LGBTQ

Here is Kevin de León’s statement from earlier today:

“For nearly four years, it’s been a profound honor to lead a unified, progressive and collaborative California State Senate. Together, we’ve put the public interest over individual ambitions and made enduring progress on behalf of millions of Californians.

“Unfinished work remains – and so does our Senate’s important tradition of seamless and peaceful leadership transitions.

“To that end, I have announced to our Senate Democratic Caucus that a formal vote to elect our next Senate President pro Tempore will be held in early January and a formal transition later in the year.

“Better yet, I’m pleased to announce that our Caucus is unified in support for Senator Toni G. Atkins of San Diego to serve as our next President pro Tempore.

“We aren’t just making consensus – we’re making history.

“Four years ago, our Caucus elected the first Latino leader in over a century to lead the California State Senate – and, next year, Senator Atkins will become our first ever woman to be elected Senate Leader.

“Toni is a leader of great experience, achievement and integrity, and I have every confidence that she will lead America’s most accomplished legislative chamber to even greater heights.

“As always, I thank the members of the Senate for their confidence, camaraderie and unwavering commitment to the future of this state.

“Working together, I look forward to another year of extraordinary progress.”

Here is Toni Atkins’s statement from earlier today:

“Today, I am humbled by the trust my colleagues have placed in me, and I intend to earn that trust every day by working tirelessly and inclusively to keep California a place of opportunity for everyone.

“Kevin de León has led our Senate with strength, intelligence, integrity, and compassion – and continues to do so. Our collective policy achievements under his leadership have made our state a better place to live, work, raise a family, and attend school, regardless of race, religion, gender, or background.

“Given our national divisions, California’s example is more important than ever – and I look forward to working with our President pro Tem and all of our colleagues to ensure that the Senate continues to rise together to meet the challenges faced by the great people we represent.”

In Solidarity,

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy
San Diego Democrats for Equality