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Notes from May Meeting – Democratic State of Play Moving into 2018


Club President Jonathan Wubbolding called the meeting to order at 4:02 PM and thanked everyone for coming. Next, he welcomed new Club members and among those who introduced themselves were Michelle Morgan, Carl Yaekel, and Gail Saivar. After making a call for any elected officials or their representatives, former elected officials, or any candidates who wished to speak, the following responded:

Doug Case, Political Affairs Director for State Senator Toni Atkins, said that three of Sen. Atkins’ bills had recently been released from the Appropriations Committee and would come up for vote soon: SB 562 – the Healthy California Act; SB 2 – the Building Homes and Jobs Act; and, SB 179 – the Gender Recognition Act.

Glenn Jensen, an economist running to replace Duncan Hunter in District 50, said he was tired of partisan politics and that we needed to appeal to moderate Republicans and Independents in order to win races. If elected, he promised to compel the government to deal with every issue, such as health care and climate change, as a national security matter and with fiscal discipline.

Jonathan explained that John Hartley, coordinator for Neighborhoods for Fair Elections, had been rescheduled to speak in July.

Liz Silverman spoke about SB 562, which would create a single-payer universal health care system in California and provide comprehensive coverage for all its citizens. Though it would raise taxes, she believed the vast majority of people would save money because health care premiums, deductibles, and co-pays would be eliminated and costs would be controlled through a reduction in administrative overhead and though negotiation with pharmaceutical companies. She urged Club members to help canvass local neighborhoods and to contact their representatives, and asked the Club to endorse the bill. Jonathan entertained a motion to endorse, Susan Peinado moved that the Club endorse SB 562 – the Healthy California Act, it was seconded, hearing no discussion, a voice vote was made and the endorsement passed.

Program: Dr. Cody Petterson – Democratic State of Play Moving into 2018
Local anthropologist Cody Petterson discussed the current state of play within the San Diego County Democratic Party. The overarching theme of his talk was the need for activists to transition from protest to power and to move from focusing on national abstractions to developing progressive policies that dealt with concrete local problems.

While protests have been great for solidarity, he said that they were now wasting too much time and resources and that there was a need to have more forces out in the field working in the chambers of power, speaking before city councils and planning boards, manning phone banks, walking precincts, and writing op-eds because the bulk of our problems were right here at home and we could have a direct hand in solving them.

Acknowledging that there was still a lot of antagonism within the party as a result of the 2016 primary, he said he was very motivated to help foster party unity and thought it could be achieved by focusing on common issues. He spoke about social science’s idea of the Overton window, or window of discourse, which he defined as perspectives that are legitimate to have with regard to topics, and said such a window was created after the primary when there was dramatic shift to more agreement within the party on a range of ideas.

He then provided a rundown on the current local political scene, discussed the various issues, and looked ahead to the 2018 elections. He said there was a need to develop more leadership at the local level and that progressives were shifting to vetting and then promoting candidates rather than relying on the party pipeline. He went on to say that we should not abandon our representatives after helping get them elected; we needed to actively support them when they act in line with our values and speak out when they move away from them because it would help push our progressive issues and create accountability.

Next, he covered the issue of homelessness, the need for effective mass transit, the fact that the San Diego Police Department was critically understaffed, and most important to him, the inventory and affordability problem in local housing. He said that it was unfortunately not the time to campaign on climate change because he felt that people don’t care about it and that we’ve failed to educate even ourselves on the nuts and bolts of the issue, but that it was, however, the time to identify proxy issues that will inevitably impact the climate and that voters already respond to, such as the need to intensify urban development and avoid urban sprawl.

The primary lesson he learned from 2016 was that no one was going save us but ourselves; when you see something that needs to get done, the person to do it was you, and the time to do it was now. He said that though it was a burdensome time for us, there was something powerful in it because we have entered a heroic age. His parting message to everyone was: “Save us and become heroes.”

You can listen to a Podcast of Cody’s talk here.

Club Reports
Vice President
– Merrin invited everyone to attend the third PLDC Happy Hour at 5:30 PM on Wednesday, June 14, at the Old Venice Restaurant. She also said volunteers were needed to help set up/break down and man the Club’s booth at the June 24 OB Street Fair.

Treasurer – Jonathan announced that after a month-long search for a new Treasurer, he’d appointed long-time Club member Dave Furlano to the position and asked the Club to ratify the appointment. Dave introduced himself, said he had an undergraduate degree in pharmacy and a PhD in chemistry, became involved in drug development working for the FDA and in Big Pharma, and that now he wanted to step up and contribute to the Club. Susan Peinado moved that the Club ratify Jonathan’s appointment of Dave as Club Treasurer, it was seconded, hearing no discussion, Jonathan called for a voice vote and the motion carried.

Announcements

  • Fred Rogers, Vice President of the San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action, announced that a public forum on the Soccer City proposal would be held on Wednesday, June 14, at the Mission Valley Library on Fenton Parkway.
  • Kathy Stadler of San Diego County Indivisible said they wanted to put a personal face on the statistics of Americans who would be harmed if the Republican health care bill became law and urged people to share their experiences in 15-second to one-minute videos. They could stay and record one after the meeting or go to www.sandiegoindivisible.com/press/media.
  • James Elia announced that an event called “Serve Our Vets’ Pets” would be held on June 17, 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM at Nate’s Point Dog Park in Balboa Park where people could contribute food and other items for veteran’s pets. He said more info could be found on the Support Underserved Vets with Pets Facebook page and at http://www.gofundme.com/veteransandpets.
  • John Hartley, the coordinator for Neighborhoods for Fair Elections, which pushes for campaign finance reform in San Diego, invited everyone to attend their kick-off event on June 10, 10:00 AM, at the First Unitarian Church across from the UCSD Medical Center. The topic will be “Does San Diego Have Fair Elections? Past, Present, and Future.”
  • Phil Manson said the Pacific Beach Democratic Club had invited the Club to attend the next Drinking With Donkeys on May 31, 5:30 PM, at Stone Brewing in Liberty Station to get to know members from five other clubs.

Jonathan announced that there would be no Club meeting in June because of the Club’s participation in the OB Street Fair. He thanked everyone for coming and invited everyone to meet afterwards at the Point Break Café at 2743 Shelter Island Drive to continue discussion.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:33 PM.


Meeting notes: Deborah Currier, Secretary
Photo credit: John Loughlin